Los Gatos welcomes the start of the holiday season at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 at Town Park Plaza with the traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony that will include a visit from Santa Claus.
Oh Christmas Tree!
The Town of Los Gatos and the co-host the annual holiday tree lighting spectacular.
The planted the majestic fir in 1923 and everyone's focus is on the crucial moment, when will choose a child to flick the switch to turn on the lights.
Immediately following the lighting Santa comes to visit and participate in a sing-a-long.
The public will enjoy popcorn, coffee and hot chocolate while watching the ceremony and the foundation will be collecting toys for its annual Toys 4 Tots toy drive.
In 2008, with the help of PG&E, the foundation purchased new eco-friendly LED lights for the tree.
According to Foundation President Janice McCabe, the group provided three times the amount of lights as before. The lights are said to consume half the electricity it used to take to light up the tree.
“It’s a great tradition for a lot of families to come down and kick off the holidays,” she said.
According to event organizers, the parade will have approximately 240 entries from organizations that will march from the corner of Almendra and No. Santa Cruz avenues to .
member and parade chairman Butch Lumby said he's expecting around 7,000 people to watch the event. He said he's getting help from more than 200 volunteers from the Lions Club, the and the town’s Parks and Public Works Department.
Lumby said the best part of being affiliated with the parade is seeing children and families' reaction to the parade.
Some of the organizations participating in the parade include local Cub and Girl Scouts, the Southwest YMCA, , racing clubs and 12 school bands and 40 horses, according to Lumby.
Lions Club past president Carol Musser said the celebration is funded by commercial registration fees for parade entries and advertising in the parade program that she designs and publishes.
According to Musser, who has been a part of the parade planning for 25 years, volunteers will be handing out approximately 3,500 programs free of charge to attendees. She added the parade’s sole focus is to create a magical setting for Los Gatos families.
“It’s the pride of Los Gatos, truly a family event ,” Musser said.
Musser also noted that the two-hour celebration will be broadcast on Los Gatos' Comcast community access station, which serves more than 10,000 cable households in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno.
Though there's a slight chance of rain predicted for Saturday, Lumby says the parade will go on just as it has for more than five decades.
“We’ve only canceled one parade in 55 years and we’re not going to cancel a second,” Lumby said.
Oh Grand Marshal!
During the entire year it takes to plan the event, the Lions Club accepts nominations from community members of who should be selected as the parade’s grand marshal.
Pleasant taught music at Los Gatos High School for 29 years and was director of the school’s jazz ensemble Jazz Purr. She has taught in several school districts all over the state since 1967.
Pleasant serves as vice president of the Los Gatos-Saratoga Community Concert Association, is a charter member of the where she is secretary-treasurer of its Charitable Foundation, and chairman of the
She credits her strong partnerships with the Los Gatos community as the source for her success in community involvement.
“I am very excited to be the grand marshal this year. It’s more than I can express,” Pleasant said. “The Los Gatos community deserves this honor, every time I looked to someone for help, they gave it – whether it was a student, parent or school administrator. It’s the community that made this possible.”
Pleasant will start the parade as she will be sitting in the first convertible car in line, which is being decorated by local florist Bob Gilmore of on University Avenue. Student members of Jazz Purr will join her.
“They made everything that I am today,” added Pleasant, who has participated in the parade for the last 40 years with several different organizations.
Oh Santa Claus!
Though Pleasant will be kicking off the celebration,