CALEXICO — If they weren’t in the holiday spirit before Saturday’s 53rd annual Christmas Parade in Calexico, there is no doubt visitors and participants left cheery with the spirit of the season following the joyful extravaganza of dozens of colorful floats inspired by this years’ theme of “Happy Holidays and All That Jazz” that paraded through the downtown streets of the city.
With just under 80 entries, those who participated poured out Christmas vibes with school bands creating the jazz, antique cars and motorcycle clubs bringing the excitement, and cheerleaders and drill teams providing the cheer.
This year’s Grand Marshal was none other than Carmen Durazo who contributes much to the city’s events year-round.
The event attracted thousands of people to the downtown area who participated by cheering and waving at those riding and marching in the holiday parade.
“I really enjoy coming to the parade every year,” said Jose Lopez. “It’s a good way to spend some holiday fun with my family who look forward to this parade every year.”
The mile-long parade began on the corner of Mary and Second Street before ending in front of City Hall. The event was organized by the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, the Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District, the Calexico Desert Valley Bandits and the Calexico Downtown Business Improvement District.
Leading the parade was Calexico Police Chief Reggie Gomez followed by D-1 Imperial County Supervisor John Renison along with D-5 Supervisor Raymond Castillo, and the city’s newly-elected Mayor Armando Real.
Unexpectedly showing off his unforgettable voice, Supervisor Castillo paused for a moment, took the mic and sang “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Taking first place and awarded with the Grand Marshal Trophy was Cesar Chavez Elementary School whose inspirational jazz themed float carried dozens of student musicians playing live amongst the numerous music notes decorated the float.
Placing second was Mains Elementary School with float that was also inspired by music, while third place went to Jefferson Elementary School.
Santa Claus ended the parade riding on a large Calexico Fire Department truck with sirens wailing, giving the parade a spectacular ending.
“I love seeing Santa,” said seven-year-old Hector Salvia, who was accompanied by his family.