Last night, I went to the Downtown SLO Holiday Parade put on by the SLO Downtown Association. If anything classifies as a “small town parade” this one does. Its made up of schools, service organization, downtown businesses promoting themselves, clubs and just about anyone who can put a float or group together.
The parade becomes a community outing with families in abundance, coffee shop incredibly crowded and restaurants busting at the seems. The hustle, bustle is exciting. I love to go people watch, especially the small children who are usually dressed up in their finest Christmas outfits including stocking caps and tiaras. Inevitably, I see many friends and acquaintances at the event. And, I meet new people which is always fun. The downtown streets are closed off, so before the parade starts people are roaming up and down, children are playing tag and vendors with neon light up toys are selling. It really is buzzing!
We, Leslie and I, headed downtown around 6 p.m. We wanted to have dinner beforehand, get a hot drink and watch the revelry. We got lucky, finding parking just a couple of blocks from downtown and an outdoor table at the Wineman Grill Haus on Higuera Street where we had a front row seat to the parade. I’ll write about the Grill Haus in another post. We bundled up, but it was a pretty mild night. I always take lots of pictures and video. There is just something about a parade that brings out the kid in me.
The parade starts with motorcycle cops clearing the street, letting off their sirens and heralding the bands and floats to come. There are usually over 100 entrants into the parade, so although we are a small town, we know how to party and have fun!! My favorites this year were the SLO High Marching Band, the Chinese Association and their dancing dragons, the big fire engine and a group of bicyclists, I think from the Bicycle Coalition, that were riding all kinds of cycles decked out in lights and their riders looking like something out of Dr. Seuss. Of course, Santa Claus is the last float and marks the end of the parade. In total, it lasts almost 2 hours.
If you are ever in town the first Friday in December, make sure to come to the parade! #LetsGoSLO