Eighty-five entries, hundreds of participants, classic cars carrying dignitaries, throngs of onlookers, sun-drenched weather conditions and an abundance of good cheer made for another memorable City of Perris Holiday Parade.
The 29th annual parade December 9 made its way along D Street, turning the historic avenue into a cornucopia of color, sound and pageantry, capped off by the appearance of Santa Claus riding in the last float. There were marching bands, some as far away as Norwalk and Pomona, belting out holiday classics while processing in cadence.
The parade featured Perris elected representatives walking and roller-skating the route, chatting with the crowd and exchanging holiday greetings. Church groups urged the audience to remember the religious aspects of the season and attend church services. About 20 Mexican “charros” and their dancing horses pranced their way down the parade, drawing cheers of appreciation from the onlookers.
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas called the festivities another great example of community engagement.
“It’s awesome to keep this great tradition going,” Vargas said. “We’ve got families with kids and we’re getting bands from all over this region to take part in our parade. The word is getting out about Perris. There are so many adults and kids watching and taking part in this parade. It’s a great time. Everybody’s young at heart at Christmas!”
Perris Mayor Pro-Tem David Starr Rabb continued his tradition of navigating the parade route on roller skates.
“This is the signature event for the City and one I look forward to every year,” he said. “Everybody in our City comes out to take part. People from all walks of life are here. This parade showcases our City.”
City Councilwoman Tonya Burke hailed the parade as an event that “brings people from all religious and cultural backgrounds together.”
“One of our main goals is to make sure we engage our community,” Burke said. “We as a City Council are always supportive of events that bring the community together. Having a place to come to celebrate the season with others is what makes me most proud.”
City Councilman Malcolm Corona attended with his wife, Mila, and 2-year-old son, Malcolm, and family dog, Marty.
“It’s a great day for a parade and a great time to be here with my family,” Corona said. “The bands, the marching groups, the veterans’ groups, the Charros—they’re all here. The weather is perfect. The City gets to show off the best of what we have to offer. It’s great entertainment for our families.”
City Councilwoman Rita Rogers attended with her grandson, Jordan.
“It’s always great to have the community come out and support our Christmas Parade,” she said. “The City take pride in inviting bands, floats and other entries to participate. We’re looking forward to a wonderful celebration in the Christmas spirit.”
City Clerk Nancy Salazar attended with her daughter, Khloe, 7.
“It’s really special to see how many residents come out to watch this parade,” she said. “It’s always something special.”
Asked what she liked most about the event, Salazar said: “Seeing all the excitement with the kids and the schools that participate.”
The 2017 parade drew California Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, and Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley. Both make it a point to attend community activities in Perris when their schedules allow.
“It’s always good to come to Perris to see all the families enjoying this parade and celebrating the holidays,” Medina said. “I like the small-town feel of Perris. I like the hospitality.”
Ashley said he wished joy and prosperity to those celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s. He called the Christmas parade a milestone event for Perris and one that keeps getting bigger and better every year.
This year’s event, for example, drew participants from Los Angeles County, Moreno Valley, Menifee, Nuevo, Romoland and Lake Elsinore.
“This is a wonderful event that keeps getting better every year,” Ashley said. “It’s wonderful to come to Perris to celebrate the holidays.”