The cornerstone of Ocean Beach Town Council’s 42nd “Holidays in OB” celebration this year as always will be the community’s parade kicking off at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4.
The OB holiday theme for 2021 is “Rockin’ Around the Crooked Tree.” That theme pays homage to the beach community’s left-leaning, specially selected Christmas tree.
A suitable specimen is chosen every year, and then firmly planted in the sand near OB Pier days before the parade. It is decorated by children and others in the community and remains up until Jan. 2, 2022.
The crooked tree over the years has become an enduring symbol of OB’s offbeat vibe and bend-but-don’t-break attitude.
All of the many Yuletide events are planned and executed by OB Town Council, which also handles the annual Christmas tree selection and implantation in the beach.
The year-end holiday extravaganza in 2021could just as easily have been themed “Return To Near Normal.”
“We’re back to the traditional format,” said Corey Bruins, OBTC president and parade committee chair. “We’ve got a pretty good foundation and good template down for the traditional format.”
Last year due to COVID, the OB Parade had to innovate to be held. Organizers, forced to get creative, came up with the idea for a “reverse” parade with stationary floats set up at a cordoned-off Dog Beach. Parade-goers drove through with their vehicles to see all the floats and displays in the parking lot, which was set up in a welcoming way with a little trail for folks to follow.
Of last year’s parade, Bruins said, “All things considered, it went well.” But he noted, “It was an adventure. Last year broke the chain of tradition being the first time in four decades that it (parade) wasn’t held with the same format. But we kept it going.”
Added Bruins of 2020’s reverse parade: “We were starting from scratch, making it up as we went along. But we were happy to do something instead of giving up and doing nothing.”
Last year’s reverse parade was also notable for another reason. “I don’t know of any other event that has shut the entire Dog Beach parking lot down. That was a first,” noted Bruins.
Some 100 floats and parade entries are expected for the 90 minute parade on Dec. 4. The parade commences immediately following the lighting of the Christmas tree.
The parade route runs from Sunset Cliffs Boulevard down Newport Avenue, turning the corner at Abbot Street where entries will be reviewed by judges. Parade entries will be judged on: Best Use of Lights, Best OB Spirit, Most Unusual, Best Kids Group, Best Performance, Best Live Music and
There will be a special VIP deck section set up on the Wonderland/Surf Lodge building deck where guests can have the best views and will be served snacks and beverages.
Holiday Auction & Party
The 2021 Holiday Auction and Party is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at The Holding Company, 5046 Newport Ave. Join the OBTC for their holiday party and auction to benefit the Food and Toy Drive and other community initiatives.
Proceeds help the OB Town Council brighten the holidays for more than 150 underprivileged families and seniors across the community. If you are interested in donating an auction item, contact [email protected].
Craft Fair & Brew
There will also be a craft fair held in Veterans Plaza Park as part of the OB holiday festivities. Also, look for a collaborative OB beer – Crooked Tree IPA – brewed especially for the occasion whose namesake is, once again, the community’s crooked Christmas tree.
Bruins noted the beach community owes a debt of gratitude to The James Gang Printers in town who started OB’s numerous Christmas traditions.
“It all started with the James Gang brothers 42 years ago who brought down the first tree and people followed them,” Bruins said. “A couple of years after that they needed to raise some funding to keep the parade going and that’s when the Holiday Auction and the Food & Toy Drive got started. Everything got started with the tree.”