Despite facing a bit of rain, the 65th annual Yucaipa Christmas Parade was a big hit. Families grabbed their rain gear and lined Yucaipa Boulevard for the opportunity to see bands, floats, and of course, Santa traverse the entire parade route from uptown to city hall.
This year’s theme, “Hometown Christmas” came complete with over 100 entries including, high school marching bands, classic cars, horses, floats, and even a visit from a group of pirates that included a Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow look-a-like being towed on a pirate ship.
The rain tried its best to put a damper on the parade, but most entrants just kept on going rain and all. The rain was light, but seemed to pick up towards the end of the parade. Among parade entries were students from Yucaipa Music Amy Crippens Mini-Orchestra, who were playing their violins in the rain during the last three blocks of the parade.
The parade featured many breeds of full size and miniature horses, dogs, and even goats donning Christmas harnesses and collars.
The grand marshal of the parade Cali Binks, Superintendent of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District, found herself escorted down the parade route in a beautiful white convertible as she waved and greeted parade attendees.
“I was humbled and honored to be Grand Marshal of our community parade,” said Binks. “I had so much fun! It was great to see friends and neighbors, parents and students lining the streets. I so appreciate this community and to see all the joy from a beautiful corvette and a great driver, Richard, was really amazing! Thank you Yucaipa Rotary. Honestly, I am still smiling.”
The parade featured many Corvette convertibles carrying this year’s chamber honorees including Peace Officer of the Year Deputy Alisha Rosa, Reserve Firefighter of the Year Carlos Ortiz, Firefighter of the Year Caleb Pohren, Ambassador of the Year Melissa Chagolla, Small Business of the Year Hickory Ranch, Citizen Patrol Member of the Year George Siddle, and Citizen of the Year Kristine Mohler.
Yucaipa High School Theatre performed a number from “Mamma Mia” on a very festive looking trailer, and the tumblers from Believe Athletics did not disappoint, showing off their gymnastics skills even on the wet pavement.
“I used to drive in the parade,” said Frank Ortiz of Redlands. I miss doing it because I did it for the kids, you know. I brought all of my family to the parade today, and we are going to the Redlands parade tonight.”
Unfortunately for Ortiz, the Redlands parade was canceled due to weather and safety concerns, as was the parade scheduled in Calimesa.
In Calimesa, it came down to a combination of traffic concerns from the freeway off-ramp closures and hazardous road conditions. The crowd in Yucaipa was lucky enough to only get rain towards the end of the parade.
City officials in attendance included City Councilmembers Bobby Duncan and Greg Bogh, Mayor Pro Tem Denise Allen, and Mayor David Avila. They followed the parade route on top of a classic red GMC fire truck.
Yucaipa resident Jack Lawson said, “The parade was good. A lot of contestants this year. We have someone in the parade with My Focus Taekwondo. I have been living here for 30 years and come every year.”
The rain may have affected attendance slightly, but not by much. And all those attending seemed to have a perfect time getting into the holiday spirit. This year’s parade was well done, and the Yucaipa Rotary Club made sure it all ran smoothly.