Editor’s note: This article has been edited to correct an error in the print edition which provided the incorrect name for the grand marshal of the 2017 Christmas Parade.
The 39th Annual Seal Beach Christmas Parade will begin its stately, and vibrant journey down the three blocks of Main Street from Ocean to Pacific Coast Highway on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
Under the skillful direction of parade chairman Scott Newton and nearly 150 fellow Lions, it will truly be as the theme suggests, a visual and auditory feast through “The Magic of Christmas.” Each parade entry is to try to pick an element of historic or literary traditions of the magic and bring it to life by creating a vision of magical Christmas in their group. It could be based on religious themes, the “Santa” stories of various cultures or even the more esoteric magic of how special toys are produced like those presented in “The Land of Misfit Toys.”
There will be magic in the air as Steve Masoner, of Save our Beach, Grand Marshals Greg and Gina Phillips and Junior Grand Marshal Madison Berry, the International Leo of the Year, will cut the ribbon and start the parade.
With over 105 entries, including of course Santa Claus, it is the final major event for the city during its annual year of events. There are over 3,600 participants and there will be four key announcers. Because it is a continuous motion parade, each announcer will be part of a team, like the Lions Marshals, to ensure the flow and consistency of the parade.
Scott Newton, the parade chairman, since Jim Klisanin resigned over two decades ago said, “Though we are larger in size than many of the parades in the area, we are still focused on the small-town feel, local groups and our kids as truly the celebrities of our community.” Seal Beach has won the 4th friendliest city in Forbes Magazine, along with several years of the Naval Weapons Station winning Navy awards for its environmental action and housing strategies.
The Christmas Parade, which is produced by the Seal Beach Lions, co-produced with the city and presented by a multitude of local business and individual sponsors, is a celebration of child-like joy and innocence. Entries like the “Almost Famous Kazoo Band” and the Women’s Club have been in the parade practically since inception.
Chairman Scott Newton said, “We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of the city of Seal Beach, Run Seal Beach, Baytown Realty, Fresh Cut Creative, Watersafe Swim School and Jim’s incredible Christmas party at the Baytown parking lot, and the many other sponsors.” Keep a special eye out for the incredible floats of Dekra-Lite, the locally founded business which has built a huge portfolio of holiday décor clients, from South Coast Plaza to our own Christmas tree for our tree lighting, this year taking place on Nov. 18.
Once again, all entries will be judged on their best use of the theme—“the Magic of Christmas.” Categories include: Best of Show (Group that brings over the top Holiday Spirit), Judge’s Choice (Best presentation of theme), People’s Choice, Most Festive (best visual and creative holiday concept) and Most Humorous (a blend of humor, style and theme). Judges will be stationed along both sides of the route from Ocean Avenue to PCH, so entries will want to perform continuously from start to finish.
All entries are encouraged to decorate and dress around the theme—keeping in mind there is only ONE Santa Claus and any inclusion of a “traditional” Santa is not allowed. Examples of components of the theme might be as our poster suggests, the Three Wise Men, the guiding star to the infant Jesus, the surprise of wrapped packages, the concept of travel around the world by Santa bringing gifts to good little girls and boys, etc.
Winning entries will be notified the following week and recognized at Breakfast with Santa on Saturday Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. Four representatives from each winning group may attend the breakfast as the guests and honorees of the parade.
Streets have a hard closure at 5 p.m. and look for your official Christmas Parade Guide by our media partner, Sun News.
Seth Eaker is co-chair of the Christmas Parade, and is the current president of the Seal Beach Lions Club.