Car that drove Grand Marshal Vera Jimenez by Amber Reed | Lariat
The city of Laguna Niguel held a holiday parade, “Together Again,” on Saturday, Dec. 11. The parade started at 10 a.m. and ended around 12 p.m. Along with 100 entries there were floats, marching bands, exotic cars and Santa Claus! This event is a tradition in southern California, and can reach up to 10,000 viewers and 3,000 participants.
Some of the participants included Grand Marshal Vera Jimenez, Meteorologist with KTLA and a hometown special guest Ava August from American Idol top 12.
“We drove the Grand Marshal Vera Jimenez,” Robert Winters said. “Growing up in Boston my family would always go to parades since we have twelve antique cars.”
The parade that occurs every year is one mile long and is located at Crown Valley. The streets are shut down from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. the day of the parade. In the past, the parade has had celebrity guests such as John O’Hurley, Ashley Argota and Dakota Lotus. These guests and Grand Marshal’s are generally driven in antique cars.
“When my dad passed away two years ago I wanted to start doing more parades in remembrance of him,” Winters said. “This car was his originally, it’s a 1934 Buick four-door convertible and the model is a 68-C.”
The parade attracted some celebrity guests including Michael James Ryan and Andrew Lynford. Another special appearance was the Oscar Meyer hot dog truck called the “weinermobile.”
“Our job is a one-year position where we travel the country,” said Nacho Dog Nicholas with the Oscar Meyer weinermobile. “I believe the mobile has been in the parade before, but it was our first time doing it.”
Locals from the area gather around and bring chairs to enjoy the parade. There is shuttle transportation available so that people living in the area can walk to the parade and get a spot on the sidewalks.
In the 2019 parade, some of the attractions and members of the parade included members from the Laguna Niguel Botanical Reserve, Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce and the Laguna Niguel Youth Committee. With all of the local organizations, members of the community are able to support local businesses and their local environment every year in the parade.
“It’s our 6th time going to the parade,” Jason Gerstenberger said. “My favorite part was the guide dogs, the lab guide dogs.”
With youth groups, esquestrial units and military members, there was no mistake the participants reached 3,000. Although the parade was two hours long, a VIP breakfast was provided at 8 a.m. for drivers and special guests before the parade. Viewers were also encouraged to arrive early and reserve a good view.
The parade did not occur last year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the resurgence of the Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade inspired the name “Together Again.” Parade members such as Winters hope this tradition will continue, as it brings the community together and celebrates the holiday season.
The city of Laguna Niguel expresses that the parade will go rain or shine unless conditions are deemed unsafe. The parade started on Crown Valley and ended at Community Park this year.