The Goleta Holiday Parade will return Dec. 11 after being on hiatus due to the pandemic.
The procession will begin at 6 p.m. and will include community organizations, schools, nonprofits, youth sports teams and more marching down Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta.
The Goleta Lions Club is partnering with the City of Goleta and other community sponsors to present this event.
This event has always been enjoyable for all ages and in previous years has hosted hundreds of community members and local groups.
This year’s parade route will go from Orange Avenue to the Goleta Valley Community Center.
The return of the parade allows the community to safely celebrate the Christmas season.
However, organizers note support is needed. A variety of sponsorship levels are available, including North Pole Sponsorships ($3,000), Reindeer Sponsorships ($1,000), or Candy Cane Sponsorships ($500), in addition to other levels.
All sponsorship funds will go toward parade expenses and the Goleta Lions Club’s mission to support local youth projects, with an emphasis on providing sight and hearing resources, which is a national mandate of the Lions Club.
The parade will bring some much needed Christmas cheer, after having to cancel last year’s event due to the pandemic, while lighting up Hollister Avenue.
The News-Press interviewed Ed Holdren and Steve Cousens of the Goleta Lions Club, who have been working hard to recruit sponsors for the parade.
This is the first year that the Lions Club is partnering with the city to bring this parade to the community.
“Ed Holdren, the parade chairman, was actively involved in the previous organization, the Goleta Old Town Association, and did not want to see the parade discontinued totally. Holdren presented the club with the proposal of being a lead organization to produce the parade with the city, and the club agreed,” said Mr. Cousens.
“We feel it is important to the citizens of the community for the recovery from the COVID debacle. People have enjoyed the parade in the past, and so we stepped up to continue it as a tradition for Old Town,” said Mr. Holdren.
The parade started five years ago.
“A group of us got together and created the parade. The idea was originally from Phil Unander, a longtime businessman in Old Town. Four years ago we had to cancel because of smoke,” Mr. Cousens said. “Then we had the second parade, with more entries, and then last year we had to cancel because of COVID,” Mr. Holdren told the News-Press.
Organizers noted that recruiting sponsors is going fairly well considering the impact of the pandemic on many local businesses over the last two years.
This year’s sponsors include the City of Goleta, Santa Barbara Elks Lodge 613, Toyota, Yardi Systems, Community West Bank, American Riviera Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust and EasyLift. Another sponsor is Santa Cruz Market, a longtime fixture in Old Town Goleta.
“The parade is geared toward all community members,” Mr. Cousens said. “Participants include large corporations, schools, dance companies, families with children and everything in between.”
He said the community of Goleta started 150 years ago on Old Town and the main street going through it, Hollister Avenue.
The City of Goleta is working closely with the Goleta Lions Club to help facilitate the parade. Parade organizers will continuously consult with local public health officials and follow any guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Santa Barbara County and the city of Goleta to ensure a safe community experience.
“Throughout the duration of my involvement as councilmember, I have rarely seen an event that warmed the hearts of all our community members as much as the Goleta Holiday Parade. It is important to generate continued support for this event and keep spirits and cheer alive this Holiday season,” said Roger Aceves, Goleta City Council member and a Reindeer sponsor of the parade.
Other Reindeer sponsors are Yardi Systems, and Toyota of Santa Barbara. North Pole sponsors are the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge and Santa Cruz Market. Media Partner is Rincon Broadcasting.
Visit goletaholidayparade.org for more information about sponsorship opportunities, volunteer positions, and participant information.