Santa Claus waves to the large crowd as he makes his way down Main Street during the 2006 Santa Paula Optimist Club’s Christmas Parade last Saturday. Photo by Don Johnson

Santa Claus arrives in Santa Paula

November 29, 2006
Optimist Club Christmas Parade draws record crowd to downtown SP
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesParade-lovers were standing four deep in many areas along the route of the Optimist Club’s 57th Annual Christmas Parade held Saturday which proved that indeed, “A Perfect Christmas” is right around the corner.The theme could have been morphed into “A Perfect Day for a Parade” with sunny by cool weather perfect for the thousands who lined Main Street to watch floats, SPPD patrol and support vehicles, SPFD engines and accessory equipment, car clubs, marching bands, equestrians, veterans’ groups, clowns and Santa Clause on parade.But before Old St. Nick was the honor given to former SPFD Chief Paul Skeels, lauded as the 2006 Christmas Parade Grand Marshal.Elected officials – Mayor Rick Cook, Council members Mary Ann Krause and John Procter as well as Supervisor Kathy Long – and one Councilmember in waiting, Ralph Fernandez, waved to the enthusiastic crowds.“We had a good time and it was a great parade,” said Christmas Parade Coordinator Ron Merson, who has overseen the event for 25 years and whose son, Scott, helped out at the event.The 50-plus entries made it challenging for the panel of Judges including Public Works Director/City Engineer Cliff Finley and his mother Joy Finley, as well as Stephanie Kinnear and Saundra Sorenson of the VC Reporter.The SPPD led the parade that included the Combined Scout Troops Color Guard followed by the Isbell Middle School Marching Band, marking their 40th year of Christmas Parade participation and stepping smartly in their military royal blue and white uniforms.Veterans were a big hit with the Mercer-Prieto VFW Post 2043 providing several vehicles as well as members of the Korean War Veterans Association of Ventura County Chapter 56 bringing cheers from the supportive crowd.Santa Barbara Bank & Trust was among several business entries including semi-truck floats decorated by Century 21 Buena Vista and Troop Real Estate and a convertible holding holiday themed characters such as the Grinch and Shrek sponsored by Skillin-Carroll Mortuary. Several radio stations sent lively vans while Cemex offered a huge mixer and Limoneira Co. their own vintage trolley filled with Christmas celebrants.Girl Scout Brownie Troop 624 rode gaily decorated bicycles, Girl Scout Troops showed they were also ready for the holidays and Western-wearing Betty Sears was delivering gifts astride Shauna. Alexis Lindsay showed that all she wants for Christmas are more horses as the pajama clad girl trotted down the street on Rafferty…a vintage 1951 Massey Harris “Pony” Tractor was a work animal requiring a real engine.
The R & R Ranch Pony Club had their steeds sporting glittered hooves while the numerous car clubs that took part – Dukes, Infinite, Clasique Touch, the Ventura Count Model A and United - vied for space with a 1930 Model A, 1949 Dodge Coronet, 1942 Pebbles War Wagon and 1969 Ford Fairlane convertible, among other vehicles that wowed the watchers.The Heritage Valley ARC Angels switched from their usual float to a heavenly drill team, the Ramirez Family & Friends were cozy, the JC Team showed some great musical moves and Rozzi the Clown and her friends had fun clowning around with the crowd.The Topa Topa Flywheelers and their assortment of antique farm equipment showed why they continue to be parade favorites and the Santa Paula Karate Youth had all the right defensive moves.The Santa Paula Moose Club was a welcome entry and Santa Paula Union High School’s Cardinal Marching Band offered a lively musical interlude including Flag and Theater Team members. El Buen United Methodist Church had a in the mood entry that featured Pastor Lupita Alonso dressed as an elf, oversized ears and all while Kayla & Jordan’s Gingerbread House was good enough to eat.Santa Paula Youth Football & Cheer had all the signs of being big winners while the Santa Paula Weed & Seed/Boys & Girls Club Float paid tribute to kids who just say no.The sirens in the distance announced the arrival of the man with all the toys but it was the SPUHS Cardinal swinging from a SPFD ladder that first got most of the attention.But as the crowd took a breath Santa came into sight, riding atop the vintage SPFD Mack engine and waving to all the delighted children as he wished them a Merry Christmas.Trophy winners were: Sweepstakes/Best Use of Theme, SPUHS Cardinal Marching Band; Equestrian, 1st Alexis Lindsay, 2nd Betty Sears; Novelty Youth, 1st SP Youth Football/Cheer, 2nd JC Kids; Novelty Adult, Heritage Valley ARC Angels; Float, 1st Santa Paula Weed & Seed, 2nd Girl Scout Troops 625 & 638; Auto, 1st United Car Clubs of Ventura County, 2nd Ventura County Model A Club; Marching Group/Drill Team, 1st Girl Scout Brownie Troop 624, 2nd Isbell Marching Band.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.