“I’m pleasantly surprised by all of this,” said Marcos Garcia, who has never attended the downtown festival before this weekend. “I almost didn’t want to make it out because it was so cold, but I’m glad we did. I’m in awe. I totally forgot about the weather.”
Santa, Patterson city council members and local businesses entertained the hundreds of marveled citizens for the 88th annual tradition throughout the chilly evening. But the only thing that seemed to be frozen were the smiles plastered on many of the local children’s faces.
The celebration began at roughly 5:30 p.m. in the downtown plaza, as people gathered to witness the lighting of more than 30 trees decorated by clubs, churches and individuals. The event was once again hosted by Soroptimist International of Patterson.
Trinity Dance Center was the first to perform for the festivities, and included a rowdy and rambunctious cowgirl Christmas routine featuring dozens of girls and a savvy break-out performance with tilted white hats for the older performers. Both displayed Christmas singles, and responded with smiles as the masses watched them in front of City Hall.
Other performances which displayed the talents of local youths included the Golden Valley Baptist Children’s Hand Chime Choir, the Creekside Middle School band and singer Eliana Cortez, 8, of Walnut Grove Elementary. Carolers from the First Baptist Church of Patterson also added to the holiday mix as well.
When the trees where lit, a portion of the streets were opened to allow local businesses, clubs and Pattersonites through to begin the electrical parade. Although the parade was smaller than the previous year, which boasted 30 floats, many proved to be remarkably stunning and festive.
One of the top contenders that struck audiences was the Marine tank, as well as RGM Record’s winter wonderland float, which featured shiny textures, hundreds of lights, flashing displays and miniature mythical creatures ridden by children.
Another display which garnered praise were the Girl Scout’s Del Puerto Service Unit, which held dozens of girls atop its float, complete with a Christmas tree and snowman. Candy canes were also distributed for the event, as well as other treats by many more floats.
Another interesting float proved to be Rapid Flow Mobile Car Wash’s bubble display, which shot thousands of bubbles from the back of its vehicle, much to the children’s delight. Little hands and limbs shot out from the audience, hoping to catch just one of the many spewing bubbles emanating from the parade.
Once of the most dominating presences adorned with thousands of lights came from the Palm City Reapers’ display, which harnessed a large truck carrying a flatbed full of football players. The lights were fashioned to read, “Undefeated,” at the top of the truck in bright lights, and even imitated a score board featuring the local team defeating their rival victims.
But nothing could dispel anyone’s attention away from the big guy of the evening — Santa Claus.
Long-time Patterson resident Brittany Mitchell brought her son to the show strictly because of Santa. Her son, 4-year-old Nathan, was ecstatic to see him, and was overjoyed at the prospect of meeting Santa.
“He’s the perfect age where he understands who Santa is now,” said Mitchell. “It’s perfect. He wants to march in the parade, and he asked if I wanted to march with him. He’s so excited.”
Atop a newly decorated fire engine sat Santa, who waved to the masses as children pressed against their parents in excitement.
“It’s him! It’s him!” shouted 4-year-old Lynzi Teager with a wide grin. “I’m so excited! I love Santa!”
Teager’s mother, Christina said seeing Santa always made Lynzi vibrate.
“Last year, she was jumping up and down when she saw him. She’s just so happy,” Teager said.
Lynzi was not the only child pressing to meet Mr. Claus. Hundreds called out Santa’s name as he continued down the street until the end of the parade. He retired at U.S. Bank, where parade goers were allowed one free photo taken with Santa.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.