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KAT MINER, SPECIAL TO THE DAILY PRESS
Members of A Dancer's Pointe dance school enjoy the view from the their float at Saturday's Christmas Parade in Victorville. The theme for the annual event was "Christmas in Victorville 50 Years Ago".

Christmas tradition 50 years in the making

Victorville ushers in holiday season with annual parade

Float competition winners:

Commercial Float

• First place: VV Disposal/Burrtec Waste

• Second place: A Cut Above Pet Grooming

• Third place: Kona Ice

Wheels

• First place: Hi-Desert Antique Power Assn.

• Second place: Drivers Motorized Choice

• Third place: AmVets Post 2007

Civic Floats

• First place: Victor Valley College ASB

• Second place: Girl Scouts Troop 1558

• Third place: Victor Valley High School Key Club

VICTORVILLE • Before he helped kick off the city's annual Christmas parade Saturday morning, 10-year-old Moses Ramirez was nervous.

The Eucaplytus Elementary student was so nervous, in fact, that it looked for a moment as though he might skip out on carrying the parade’s official banner — an honor he’d earned alongside Deandra Valentine, 11, and Ariella Estrada, 12, for their skills in coloring a picture of Santa Clause.

But by the time Moses finished walking the two-mile route, he was waving and shouting “merry Christmas” to the thousands of people gathered along Seventh Street to mark the first day of December with a half-century-old tradition.

“I did a great job,” Moses said proudly, excited to be done and to see his favorite Charlie Brown characters march in the parade.

Classic cars were sprinkled between the school bands, as the city paid tribute to its 50th anniversary of incorporation with the theme “Christmas in Victorville, 50 Years Ago.” The parade committee also chose multiple long-time residents to be grand marshals for the event.

Nearly 100 businesses and organizations competed in the annual float competition, decorating truck beds and trailers as a Radio Flyer wagon filled with toys, a melting snowman or simply filling it with cute kids. VV Disposal/Burrtec Waste took the top prize for commercial float, with the theme “A Grinch Christmas.” Hi-Desert Antique Power Association won in the “wheels” category, while Victor Valley College’s ASB won best civic float.

Though the parade has encountered some chilly temperatures and even rain in recent years, Saturday morning was comfortable and clear, with spectators throwing aside their coats and scarfs to enjoy the day.

The whole family came out to watch 4-year-old Mayleen Stautzenbach strut her stuff with other students from The Talent Planet, a dance studio in Victorville. After three months of practice, Mayleen was thrilled to put on her red and green tutu — complete with jingle bells — and march in line, hands on her hips in that signature dancer’s pose.

As members of the military walked by, escorting local ROTC groups, an audience member shouted out, “Thank you for risking your life for our country!”

The football team from Excelsior Charter School also drew loud cheers from the crowd, as the players carried a banner celebrating their recent victory as state champions.

Leading a troop of golf carts occupied by City Council members, Ryan McEachron fulfilled one of his last duties as Victorville’s mayor before new members are seated Tuesday night. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who recently announced his interest in running for governor, also joined in the festivities.

John Lau, 35, lives in Victorville but had no idea there was a parade Saturday morning until he rounded Seventh Street and saw the crowds gathering. He’d been heading to nearby Costco and Midway Furniture to do some Christmas shopping. Instead, he found a post to lean against and enjoy the show.

It all built to the big finale: an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Clause, courtesy of Apple Valley Councilman Curt Emick and one very convincing Becky Otwell.

When asked if he was excited to see Santa, 3-year-old Alex Valencia shyly shook his head, making the white ball on the end of his green elf hat bounce. What Alex was excited to see was the steady stream of motorcycles that helped with crowd control, riding alongside the floats and bands.

“Motorcycles Momma! Motorcycles Momma!” Alex shouted, with a flash of the childhood joy that has inspired Victorville’s tradition for 50 years.

Brooke Edwards Staggs may be reached at (760) 955-5358 or at BEdwards@VVDailyPress.com.

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