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By C. Jayden Smith
Good tidings and cheer are back on display this holiday season, as the City of San Clemente will bring back the annual Santa’s Village by the Sea event along Avenida Del Mar on Saturday night, Dec. 4.
The holiday event will include the Holly Jolly Hoopla, the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony, and Puttin’ on the Glitz, sponsored by the Downtown Business Association.
From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., visitors and their families can enjoy a spread of games, cookie decorating, inflatables, and a snow hill, sponsored by the Friends of San Clemente Beaches, Parks, and Recreation Foundation.
The tree lighting ceremony will commence at 4:45 p.m., and from 5-9 p.m., there will be music, food, and holiday shopping available.
Samantha Wylie, the Parks and Recreation Department director, said the city is looking forward to switching back from the Holly Jolly Trolley Trot it put on amid the pandemic last year.
“We’re really excited to bring back our annual tree lighting ceremony, see the snow hill come back, close down Del Mar to bring opportunity to the businesses downtown and showcase the holiday atmosphere and joyful nature that the Santa’s Village by the Sea events bring to this community,” Wylie said.
She added that visitors can expect a multitude of decorations, along the street and inside the shops that will be open as well. There will be music at the top of Del Mar, provided by the DBA, and an open-air artisan market with other smaller vendors at Ola Vista.
This year, the DBA focused on setting up a scaled-back vendor fair opportunity that will place more spotlight on the businesses in town.
“We expect a lot of the Del Mar businesses to come out and engage with the public, and it’ll be a great local event,” said DBA Board Chairperson Chris Aitken.
Unlike in previous years, there will not be a beer garden or food trucks present.
The children’s activities will be located near the San Clemente Community Center, and the tree lighting will take place on the lawn, at the corner of Del Mar and Calle Seville.
Wylie said that the tree lighting kicks off the holiday season for her, and she enjoys seeing the community glow, as she called the event a good marker of both ringing in the holiday season and looking forward to the new year.
“I also love seeing, even post-pandemic—and this was the case before the pandemic—that this event has always brought friends back together, families back together, (and) it’s a great landing place to see communities thrive and spend time together,” she said.
Aitken was disappointed to learn last year that they could not hold Santa’s Village by the Sea and Puttin’ on the Glitz, but he understood the factors behind those circumstances. He echoed Wylie’s enthusiasm for this year’s return.
“It’s just great, after a year, to see the progress that we’ve made and also to be able to bring back this local community event, which has become very beloved in our community for decades,” he said.
Del Mar will be closed to motorists from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, from El Camino Real to Calle Seville. Ola Vista will be closed from Avenida Cabrillo to Avenida Granada from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pre-sale activity wristbands will remain on sale for $15 each until 3 p.m. Saturday, and they can be purchased on the city’s website. Wristbands are required to play any of the games, decorate a cookie, or take a ride down the snow hill.
C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.