The 30th annual City of Perris Christmas Parade provided a symphony of sights, sounds and scenery as hundreds of participants and equally large throngs joined in the celebration to welcome in the holiday season.
There were floats and marching bands, classic cars and church groups, City-sponsored dance teams and e-bicycle riders, equestrian units and of course, the appearance of Old St. Nick at parade’s end.
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas and members of the City Council were among the dignitaries riding down historic D Street en route to City Hall during the Dec. 8 parade.
So was retiring Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, who has served the Perris Valley in multiple capacities for decades.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” Ashley said. “This is the largest crowd I’ve ever seen for a Perris Christmas Parade. I’ve seen this wonderful tradition grow and grow—it gets better every year. I’ve been delighted to participate all these years.”
As he heads into retirement, Ashley said his greatest desire for Perris is to “continue to thrive and become a viable City with prosperous residents who continue to enjoy a better and better quality of life.”
Mayor Vargas noted the large crowds lining the parade route, in some cases five and six deep. Early-birds arrived two hours prior to the start of the parade, beach chairs and warm drinks and snacks to ward off the early-morning chill, which gave way to glorious sunshine and warm, but not hot, temperatures.
“This parade gets bigger and bigger all the time,” Vargas said. “It’s a priority for the City Council, because it brings to our community a sense of unity.”Vargas noted that bands and marching units from schools in Pomona, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley and Menifee took part in the 2018 Christmas Parade.
“When you get people from other cities coming here, you know we’re doing something right,” he said.
Vargas said his wish for Perris residents is “a safe and warm holiday season.”
Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona brought his family to the parade: wife, Mila; son, Malcolm and dog, Marty.
“This is a great event for the City of Perris,” he said. “It’s one of our flagship activities and it’s great to see the schools, churches, kids and horses taking part. Kudos to our staff for doing a great job and making sure the parade runs smooth and safely.”
Corona brought with him bags of treats to toss to families lining the parade route. He invited members of the Perris High School cross-country team—which he coaches—to join him in the festivities. He wished for Perris residents to “enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season and new year in 2019.”
City Councilman David Starr Rabb roller-skated the parade route in 2017. This year, he opted for a seat in a classic car.
“This is a great event with a great turnout,” Rabb said. “It’s great to see such a wonderful turnout for our parade. It’s another great community event!”
Rabb wished Perris residents “a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
City Councilwoman Rita Rogers brought her grandson, Jordan, to the parade.
“It’s wonderful to see the whole community come out for our Christmas parade to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” Rogers said. “We’ve got non-profit agencies, schools and churches all taking part. We’ve got bands and youth groups participating. The community loves a good parade. And Jordan likes the classic cars!”
Rogers’ holiday wishes: “Have a joyous Christmas season with family and friends. And be thankful.”
Family, faith and food
City Councilwoman-elect Marisela Magana said Christmas is one of her favorite days of the year.
“I love Christmas,” Magana said. “It means spending time with family, making tamales and eating good food. It’s a good time to reflect on how the year went.”
Magana said events like the Christmas Parade are important because they connect City with community.
“It’s important that the City hosts it,” she said. “It’s a great time for civic engagement,”
Her 2018 wishes for Perris residents: “Have a holiday full of love. Stay safe and spend time with the people who mean the most to you.”
City Clerk Nancy Salazar brought her daughter, Khloe, 8.
“It’s always exciting to see a parade,” she said. “It’s great to witness the festivities. Christmas is about the people, the excitement and getting to see Santa. To be surrounded by so many visitors is amazing. It truly is one of our City’s special highlights of the year.”
Like her colleagues, Salazar extended her best wishes to Perris residents.
“God bless you all,” she said. “Spend the holidays surrounded by family and loved one.”