Escondido, CA

Pat Archer will lead the 68th annual Jaycees Christmas Parade

Pat Archer, a beloved Escondido institution who taught history at Palomar College for decades and was a Boy Scout leader for over 40 years, will be the grand marshal of the 68th annual Jaycees Christmas Parade

The theme of the parade, which will begin at Escondido High School and go down Broadway to Grape Day Park, is “A Quest for Christmas.”

As is traditional, the Christmas Parade is on the second Saturday of December, which this year is December 14. 

The Times-Advocate talked to Jaycees Parade Co-Chairman  Zachary Cypher, 25, who has been involved with the parade in one way or other since he was a teen. He explained the origin of this year’s theme: “The idea with A Quest for Christmas was to have Arthurian legends and Lord of the Rings,” he said. “A lots of participants are dressing up in shields and armor. The idea is they are looking for something. We even have a couple of elves.”

The biggest change from past parades was to shorten it to 60 entries, down from the 76  they had a year ago, and which dragged the length to well over two hours. “We tried to shorten it so people wouldn’t have to stand outside so long. We are about ten entries shorter this year. We are shooting for an hour and a half,” said Cypher.

This is Cypher’s first year as co-chairman. “I started being in the parade since 2006 and helping it in 2013. I’ve been involved for quite a few years,” he said. 

Parade entries will include all of the high school marching bands, Escondido’s Boy Scout Troops (naturally!) and several equestrian entries. “It’s all going to be fun,” said Cypher. “It’s kind of a different mix this year.”

Having Pat Archer as grand marshal is kind of a personal thing for Cypher. “He was my Scout Master and I’m an Eagle Scout. He’s one of the reasons I’m in the Jaycees.” 

Jaycees, for those unfamiliar with the club, stands for Junior Chamber of Commerce. It’s a small but mighty organization, but it could use help. “We’re always accepting new Jaycees member,” said Cypher. “Our membership is at ten members. We used to be well over thirty.” 

The parade judges will be posted in front Broadway Baptist Church, where entries will perform for a TV filming of the event. Announcing stages are located at Mission & Broadway and Washington & Broadway.

Broadway and several streets surrounding the parade route will be closed at 8 a.m. sharp. Motorists need to be aware of alternate routes and to allow for extra travel time.

The Christmas Parade Awards Ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the Grape Day Park Train Depot, where the Multicultural Association will be putting on their Holiday Festival (see below) and they will let the Jaycees use their stage and PA system. 

Trophies will be given for Best Marching Band, Best Dancing Group, Best Novelty Floats, etc., with three trophies awarded in each category. 

Multicultural Association Holiday Festival

11 a.m.-7 p.m., Grape Day Park

Immediately following the Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade awards ceremony, enjoy performances by Mariachi bands, Mexican folklore groups, Flamenco dancers, hip-hop singers, belly dancers, Hawaiians dancers, music bands, piñatas and more! This is a free family-friendly event.

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