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Saturday, December 1, 2012


GUEST BLOG—By Manny Cruz, Editor, North Park News—San Diego’s venerable North Park Toyland Parade has had its ups and downs over the years since its inaugural appearance in 1936, including an absence of more than 20 years between the late 1960s and the late 1980s.

The 1941 spectacle was canceled following the Japanese military’s attack on Pearl Harbor, and there was no parade in 1968 because of the construction of the I-805 Interstate. More recently, rain put a damper on parade plans in 2007.  It was canceled.

HO, HO, HO!:
Parade is Saturday, Dec. 1
Admission is free.
Free Parking in the North Park
Parking Garage, entrance on 29th St.
Parade begins at 11 am
Festival location West of the North Park Theatre
From 29th St. to Utah Sts.

All that’s in the past as far as the Victoria House Corp. is concerned.  The local social service agency has taken on the challenge of putting on the 49th edition of the Toyland Parade on Saturday, December 1, taking the reins from North Park Main Street, the previous host.

“We want to keep the integrity of the original parade while making it our own,” says Debra Fuentes, director of marketing for Victoria House.

The event is now being called the North Park Toyland Parade & Festival because of the addition of an after-parade festival featuring music and dance performances, parade awards, concessions, kids activities and an appearance by the Toyland Queen.  It’s an effort, says Fuentes to have people stay for more fun in North Park after the parade.

The sponsoring organization also has included a grand finale: a tree-lighting ceremony with carolers from the San Diego Musical Theatre (a troupe based at the Birch North Park Theatre).

Parade grand marshal will be San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who leaves office two days after the parade…

…Victoria House chose “Back to the Past” as the theme for this year’s parade and festival.  Plans call for titled division names in the parade that reflect various categories, eras and times; a longer parade route, more entries, honoring heroes from the military, involving local schools and inviting local celebrities.

“It is our plan to increase patronage for North Park’s businesses who will offer special parade discounts extending beyond the day of the parade,” says Fuentes.

Victoria House Corporation’s San Diego office is located at 4715 30th St; #1.  VHC mission statement is to help people in multicultural communities with social and family issues as well as provide referrals and services for housing, education, volunteer opportunities, financial guidance and spiritual motivation.

Reprinted with permission of the North Park News.  This article first appeared in the November, 2012 edition.  North Park News is now into its 20th consecutive year of publishing.  Founding owners were Tom and Phyllis Shess 1993-2000; followed by Gary Shaw and Tim McClain 2000-2008 then Bob and Rebekka Page 2008-present.

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