Christmas cheer begins earlier this year

The annual Gilroy Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting event will
begin earlier this year.
The annual Gilroy Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting event will begin earlier this year.

Gilroy’s Saturday spectacle Dec. 4 on Fifth and Monterey streets, hosted by the Gilroy Downtown Business Association and the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, usually features performances at the same time as the parade.

This year, however, Gilroy residents can start early at 2 p.m. to visit fundraiser and vendor booths before the 5:30 p.m. Monterey Street parade between Sixth and Fourth street.

“I’m very excited about getting people downtown at 2 o’clock,” said Eric Howard, Downtown Business Association president and event chair. “This is new for us.”

Howard said there will be a bunch of fundraiser booths and will showcase local and corporate vendors.

“It’s pretty exciting to be able to expand it from just a parade,” Howard said.

Councilman Dion Bracco will light the tree instead of Mayor Al Pinheiro who will be out of town, Howard said.

The fundraiser booths will include Solorsano and the South Valley middle schools and the Rotary Club of Gilroy. Vendor booths will feature quilts, candy, Christmas treats and ornaments, bird houses and dog scarves, said Kersty Daniels – who is organizing the event along with Howard and Albert Lambert.

“This is the first year that they’d done this. Usually it’s just the parade, the tree lighting and Santa,” said Daniels.

To add to the festivities, residents are invited to dress their dogs in holiday costumes to be judged in a doggie dress-up contest at 3:30 p.m.

The number of parade participants is turning out as well as it did last year, Lambert said.

“I’m hoping to have as many entries as we had last year – 45 to 50 entries,” he said.

Among the confirmed participants are the Gilroy Fire Department, Studio Three Dancers, Gilroy Girl Scouts and the Suzuki Violin Studio of Gilroy, he said.

Children are invited to visit Santa Claus with their Christmas wish lists handy after the parade.

“Gilroy’s fortunate to have him here every year,” Lambert said.

Schedule

– 2 to 5 p.m.: Live entertainment

– 2 to 7 p.m.: Holiday booths On Fifth Street between Monterey and Eigleberry

– 3:30 p.m.: Doggie dress-up

– 5:30 p.m.: Christmas parade

– 6:30 p.m.: Tree lighting

– After that: “Visit with Santa:” Children can ask Santa Claus for presents.

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