Admittedly it’s a little ahead of the conventional Christmas date, but Christmas comes to Imperial Beach Saturday, December 14 this year.
“Christmas Comes to I.B.” comes from a concept suggested by event Chairman Joseph Melluso, owner of the Tin Fish Restaurant. Instead of having several smaller Christmas events throughout the city of Imperial Beach, it was decided that one large event would be created that the entire I.B. Business Community and the community at large could support.
The I.B. Business Improvement District Committee, a working sub-committee of the I.B. Chamber, has been actively working on the planning and execution of the event for several months.
Highlights of “Christmas Comes to I.B.” include free cookies, hot cocoa, coffee, and mulled cider for the attendees; a visit from Santa Claus, portrayed by local legend Art Zamisch; live music and caroling from the Salvation Army Band, local performer Coconut Joe Rathburn, pianist Sharon Axelson, the Kings Kids from Mission Valley Christian Fellowship, and the Mar Vista High School Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ralph Rodriguez.
There will also be caroling and the ceremonial tree lighting of the event’s new 12-foot Christmas tree, complete with new LED lights. The pubic is invited from 10 am to 4 pm to bring their own ornament to hang on the tree. There will be a live musical program starting at 4 pm and lasting until 6:20 pm.
Program of Events - December 14, 2002
Portwood Pier Plaza in Imperial Beach
10 am to 4 pm The public is invited to decorate the city’s Christmas tree. Bring your own ornament for the tree.
4 pm Mistress of Ceremonies Pat Hutchins welcomes the crowd and introduces
the Salvation Army Band.
4 to 4:30 pm The Salvation Army Band plays.
4:30 pm Hutchins introduces Santa Claus, who is delivered by Imperial Beach fire truck to Pier Plaza. Salvation Army Band plays “Here Comes Santa Claus” as their final music selection. Santa speaks and mingles with kids, passing out candy canes and chocolates. Santa adjourns to a nearby location to have his picture taken with kids for $5 each, with the net proceeds going to charity.
4:35 pm Hutchins introduces Kings Kids performance group from the Mission Valley Christian Fellowship.
4:35-4:45 pm Kings Kids perform.
4:45 pm Hutchins introduces Coconut Joe Rathburn.
4:45-5:10 pm Coconut Joe performs.
5:10-5:15 pm Hutchins introduces I.B. Mayor Diane Rose, who speaks briefly. Hutchins introduces I.B. City Council, local dignitaries, and city department heads.
5:16 pm The ceremonial switch to light the tree.
5:17-5:50 pm Mar Vista High School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Ralph Rodriguez plays.
5:50-6:15 pm Coconut Joe and Sharon Axelson lead the attendees in caroling.
6:15 pm Grand Finale. Kings Kids, MVHS Jazz Ensemble, Coconut Joe and
Sharon Axelson perform “Joy to the World” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and assembled group sings along.