Thousands likely to view annual Christmas parade

December 07, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Thousands will take to the streets of downtown Calexico on Saturday morning to walk or ride in the 50th annual Calexico Christmas Parade.

The theme this year, according to Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, is "Christmas."

"We went out on a limb this year and picked ‘Christmas,' " she said Thursday.

The parade is sponsored by the local 20-30 Active Club and the chamber.

The grand marshal this year is former De Anza Junior High track and cross-country coach David Tessada, according to Joe Vindiola of the 20-30 Club.

He will be joined in the parade by candidates for local political offices, 12 to 15 floats and hundreds of kids from marching bands and school groups. There will be 105 groups and businesses taking part.


The parade will start at 10 a.m. in front of Apple Market-Super Shopping on Mary Avenue and Second Street.

Joe Moreno, the manager of the market, and Ingrid Ramirez from Golden Acorn Casino will announce the parade participants as they head off on the route.

Carrillo-Rivera said those looking for comedy will want to sit around Moreno and Ramirez.

"We have a problem every year because he (Moreno) tries to talk to all of the entries and slows up the parade," she said.

After the paraders head west on Second, they will turn north on Rockwood Avenue. From Rockwood they will head east on Fourth Street past the Hotel De Anza.

In front of the historic hotel, the bands will stop and play and the floats will be judged. Carrillo-Rivera said the area around the hotel will be the only place the parade participants stop.

After passing the hotel the paraders will end up at the Rockwood Plaza in front of the Police Department.

In 1951 the 20-30 Club held the first ever Christmas parade, according to Vindiola.

"It lasted about 15 minutes and there were about three floats," he said.

In the early 1970s the parade became a big binational affair due to the efforts of Carmen Durazo.

She was the first person to invite Mexicali groups, according to Carrillo-Rivera. Mexicali groups have participated since then.

Carrillo-Rivera said the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service helped ensure the participation of the Mexican residents by issuing special permits for hundreds.

At the closing ceremonies there will be three grand prizes handed out for the floats but everyone will get trophies, Vindiola said.

The club and the chamber sold corporate sponsorships that helped pay for the 105 trophies.

The parade should finish sometime around 2 p.m.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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