Long Beach’s only holiday parade that proceeds along a residential street rather than a commercial corridor, the Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade began in 1953 when Gertrude B. Whittle petitioned the City Council to decorate the median between Hill Street and Pacific Coast Highway as a Christmas Village. What began as a dream for Whittle evolved into a distinguished community event where families gather to enjoy the parade and participate in various other events throughout the holiday season.
The Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance (WANA), along with 7th District Councilmember James Johnson, will present the 57th Annual Daisy Avenue Parade on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 5pm. “This year, neighbors are coming together to re-energize the parade in order to continue its tradition of bringing outstanding entertainment to the Wrigley area and to Long Beach,” said Johnson.
In 2007, volunteers with WANA refurbished and reconstructed 31 major displays and 17 snow people. In 2008, WANA focused on revamping 75 character figurines, including the popular gingerbread people, and raising money through grants and sponsorships to “go green” by purchasing energy-saving LED lights for the trees and compact fluorescent bulbs to light up the displays. That same year, WANA raised enough to hang lights on 15 of the 24 mature trees.
This year WANA will light up eight more trees thanks to the City of Long Beach Public Works Department, VANCO Properties and Waste Management. “No doubt, the Lane is brighter and greener than in the past, thanks to WANA volunteers, donations of in-kind services by local business people and the generosity of long-time sponsors like: County Supervisor Don Knabe; the Long Beach Visitors and Convention Bureau; Law Offices of Kessel, Young and Logan; and our newest sponsor– The Port of Long Beach,” said Joan Greenwood, vice president of WANA.
More than 30 volunteers from WANA, the community, Atlas Marine, Desert Express and Pacific Baptist Church have been working to set up the Lane. They got started in the early-morning hours of Nov. 30 and have been continuing their labors since.
WANA has made arrangements for Santa to be on the Lane for photo ops immediately following the tree-lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 10 at 6:30pm. Special holiday entertainment will include the award-winning High Tides Quartet, Sterns Musical Theater and Erma & Friends Gospel Singers. Attendees are asked to show their appreciation by bringing a contribution for the Long Beach Community Food Drive for people and pets.
WANA is hosting several nights of entertainment at 20th Street and Daisy Avenue:
Sunday, Dec. 12 at 7pm International Children’s Choir followed by Alma Rosas, a Mariachi soloist
Friday, Dec. 17 at 7pm Blue Steel Band– Long Beach police officers performing classic and current rock songs
Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7pm Khmer & Thai Classical Dance Group, Jackie Robinson Academy’s Pualoena Polynesian Dance Group and Sirena Serpentina Dance Group
Sunday, Dec. 19 at 6pm Don Reed’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Blues Holiday Program followed by the Downey B’n’B’s Square Dance Club and an encore by Don Reed’s group.