Grand Marshal Gillette to lead Christmas Parade

December 07, 2018

   She is always at the annual Santa Paula Optimist Club Christmas Parade, either helping with organizing and even judging, but now Robin Gillette will lead the 69th annual procession as grand marshal.
   Gillette, the principal of Renaissance High School, was selected by her club peers to lead the parade, which will step out into downtown Main Street on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 10 a.m.
   The theme of the 2018 Christmas parade is “Christmas Dreams.” Optimist Pacific Southwest District Governor Cathy Hicks said it is only fitting to select Gillette, who has “lived her dreams as she raised her two daughters and developed her career as an educator in the Santa Paula High School system as a teacher, vice principal and now principal at Renaissance High School.”
   “Robin is helping students live their dreams as she works with them in an alternative educational environment,” said Hicks. “Robin said there are many different methods in education to reach the same goal.”
   Hicks noted that “Robin has
been very active in the community over the years, but she has not been as visible. The Optimist Club likes to recognize folks who are helping our community in a quiet way but they may not be getting recognition.”
   “Robin is involved in a variety of activities in the community to help students” attain their dreams, said Optimist and Parade Coordinator Ron Merson.
   Gillette was at first hesitant to accept the honor. “I was really shocked; I never thought about it,” said Gillette, who described the honor as “surreal and humbling to have this … spotlight shined on you for doing the things that I love to do.”
   She said she is looking forward to the parade. “They’re fun. I really love judging…I asked Ron can I come back really quick and judge” after being driven along the parade route?
   Gillette said she has always enjoyed the parade and the holiday spirit it evokes, although “sometimes Christmas can happen at any time…for example, when I see students doing well, graduation when we move the tassels...for me, this is huge and all of us at RHS get to share in such an epic moment for the students and their family’s lives. In a way, I am living a dream. How many people can honestly say they love what they do? Each day is a new adventure and I thank Robin Gillette God for my family, friends, that town where I was raised, and to know that the Lord has put me in the places where I’m needed to be. How blessed is this?”
   The parade offers an emotional respite, and Gillette particularly enjoys “all the entries and the Christmas spirit…it seems like the last couple of years there have been so many emotions. The parade brings our town together, our families and the kids…and I especially like seeing the kids,” enjoying being a part of the oldest holiday parade in Ventura County.
   The 69th annual Santa Paula Christmas Parade will feature marching bands, toy soldiers, floats, automobiles, fire engines, police vehicles, veterans’ organizations, equestrians, community groups, churches, youth groups, Santa Claus and more. Each year, there are thousands of people who want to be a part of the merriment by lining Main Street to enjoy the parade, which stretches from Seventh to 11th streets, and ring in the holidays with cheer.
   Floats may be self-propelled or towed by another vehicle. It is desirable for the float theme to be carried out so that all spectators can enjoy the entry, whether coming or going.
   The parade is held rain or shine; for safety reasons, entrants must not throw candy to spectators. The parade will be filmed by Bob Allen of KADYTV.com and archived for viewing on demand.
   All decisions of the judges are final. Judging will be based on execution of the theme, originality of design and spectator appeal.
   Parade applications can be downloaded at http://www. ci.santa-paula.ca.us/Xmas%20 Parade%20Application.pdf or picked up at the Santa Paula Times, 120 Davis St.
   For more information, contact Merson at 805-525-9439 or at santapaulaparades@hotmail. com.





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