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Parade revival takes group effort Robert Moreno | Mon, May 19 2014 01:00 PM

The return of Chula Vista’s Starlight Parade relies on the involvement of the community, said Councilman Rudy Ramirez as he issued a call for action for community support.

“When it comes right down to it, it’s going to be whether or not the community wants it,” Ramirez said about the possibility of the parade coming back. “If they do, then it will be very successful.”

The long-standing Christmas parade was a fixture in Chula Vista for 50-years before it was cancelled in 2012 because of The Third Avenue Streetscape project, and cancelled again in 2013 when organizers couldn’t cover the $40,000 to host the holiday spectacle.

Ramirez and Councilwoman Pat Aguilar are spearheading an effort to bring back the holiday extravaganza under a better and stronger foundation.

“We’re going to have to develop a new model for putting on this parade,” the councilman said. “We need to think in terms of long-term sustainability,  and so we’re working on that.”

Ramirez said he wants to “professionalize” the parade to include a lot of volunteers and “interested Chula Vistans to help sustain  it from a community point of view.”

Private sponsorship and philanthropy is also needed for the parade to  comeback to fruition, Ramirez said.

More importantly, Aguilar said, the community needs to get involved.

“Everybody wants to be helpful but nobody wants to take it on,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar and Ramirez have studied the model of other cities that successfully continue to host big annual events. The cities the council members explored are - El Cajon, Downtown, Coronado, Lemon Grove and Ocean Beach.

Aguilar said they need to find a way to make the event profitable for merchants along Third Avenue.

In the past,  the parade has been held at night and all businesses closed down as people lined the streets for the parade.

Ocean Beach’s holiday parade doesn’t allow vendors, the local shops are the vendors, and Aguilar said this is a formula that Chula Vista could use for its parade.

She said some businesses on Third Avenue such as law offices and Quinceñera shops can offer promotional coupons and discounts for future use.

Ramirez said his priority is bringing back the Star Light Parade not a fire works show for the Fourth of July.

With the holiday season being several months away, Ramirez said he is focused on bringing back the parade for this year.

“We’ve not given up on this year, we’re still interested in having a parade this year so we want something that will help us put it together this year and to make it sustainable in the future.

Ramirez estimates the cost of the parade to range from $38,000 to $58,000.

To get involved email  Ramirez at: Ramirez@ci.chulavista.ca.us or Aguilar at: PAguilar@ChulaVistaCa.gov.

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