As a result of recent economic woes, the annual Pacific Beach Holiday Parade — which got its start 34 years ago — has only intermittently received sufficient funding over the last few years to ensure its survival.
The parade was canceled in 2009 because of a lack of funding, brought back in 2010, only to be canceled again last year.
“The parade is completely dependent on sponsorships, unlike something like a festival that has many revenue sources,” said Discover Pacific Beach executive director Sara Berns. “Businesses and organizations usually contribute to this event because it’s a community experience to celebrate the holidays, and they really love it. Unfortunately, that is a luxury, and the last few years have been hard on businesses. Overall, we’ve seen a significant drop in business sponsorships for all events, and, unfortunately, that is crucial for a parade.”
This year, however, a dedicated group of Pacific Beach locals, including volunteers at the Beach Bar Guild, Pacific Beach Woman’s Club and PB Community Foundation, have been launching fundraising efforts to ensure the parade returns this December — and for many more Decembers to come.
“The Pacific Beach bar industry as a whole was interested in finding a way to give back to our community,” said Beach Bar Guild president Ciara Guedesse. “Bringing back the parade is a great way to spend a day rejoicing in the holiday spirit and getting a chance to interact with friends and family alike. As of now, the Beach Bar Guild is focused on saving this year’s parade. However, it is likely that we will raise money for it in the years to come as well.”
For nearly a year now, more than a dozen area bars have hosted a number of fundraising activities like raffles, live music events, “Save the Parade” donation-bucket collections, and even a “Best Holiday Costume” contest. To supplement the efforts, volunteers from the Pacific Beach Woman’s Club collected donations outside local grocery stores throughout the year.
To top it all off, another key community organization instrumental in helping the parade move forward in the past has come through yet again.
“Last month, when Discover PB had to make the board decision whether or not to move forward with the parade, the Pacific Beach Community Foundation confirmed it would contribute an additional $5,000 to the parade,” said Berns. “The PB Community Foundation has been a longtime contributor to the parade and has graciously supported this event financially for the last few years.”
This year’s parade, which will march west down Garnet Avenue from Haines Street to Bayard Street, will be themed “Holidays Past and Presents” to pay homage to Pacific Beach’s milestone 125th anniversary this year. Participants are encouraged to dress up and decorate floats and entries from their favorite time period.
Donations for the holiday parade will be accepted until the day of the event on Dec. 15. Parade expenses include city permits for street closures, signs, police officers, safety equipment, marketing, band judges and staging. Anything raised beyond the required $20,000 to host this year’s parade will be reserved as an endowment for next year’s parade.
Anyone interested in donating to the Pacific Beach Holiday Parade is urged to call Guedesse at (858) 699-3042, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To become a volunteer on the Pacific Beach Holiday Parade Committee, contact Sara Berns at Discover Pacific Beach, (858) 273-3303.