The weather forecast is great for Saturday, November 12 so head on out to Castro Valley’s annual Meet in the Street & Light Parade.
Castro Valley Boulevard will be closed between Redwood Road and San Miguel Avenue as people gather for a fun afternoon and evening. There will be live music, entertainment, food vendors, shop discounts and – the highlight of the evening – the festive Light Parade.
Co-sponsored by the Eden Area Chamber of Commerce and Alameda County, the event kicks off the holiday season and encourages community. “The point is to get people out in the street and have a really good time,” said Kim Hudson, office assistant with the Chamber. “It’s all about creativity and fun. Who doesn’t like to dress up in sparkly lights?”
The event runs from 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm with the parade beginning at 5:30. The parade has only two rules: entries must be lighted and they must not include a live Santa. There are two grandstands, one at each end of the route, announcing the floats and entries. Before the parade begins, people can stroll the avenue, where they’ll find food vendors, special deals by shops and restaurants, and performers.
Mel Speed, event coordinator for the parade and a CV resident since 1964, was inspired by a lighted parade he saw one December in Mendocino and brought the idea to the Chamber many years ago. Five years ago, the idea finally became a reality, partly as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the newly revitalized boulevard and partly as a festive way to celebrate the onset of the holiday season with friends and neighbors.
Nedda Misherghi, whose family has been Castro Valley residents for the past four years said, “It’s so exciting for the kids and great for families.” Her six-year-old daughter, Isra, was in the parade last year with her dance company and had a blast. “She absolutely loves the lighted parade.” Last year, Redwood Christian school had thousands of lights on their float.
Entries to the parade are varied and might include dogs on leashes, lit up and dressed like reindeer; groups of vintage cars, lit with battery-powered lights; school marching bands; or a toddler being pulled in a decorated wagon by her parents. The winning floats circle back onto the parade route and linger for about an hour. The highlight of the parade is Santa, marching down the route last, and setting up with Mrs. Claus to take pictures with the little ones. “The excitement and energy and spirit during the event is just amazing,” said Speed.
IF YOU’RE GOING
Castro Valley Meet in the Street & Light Parade
Saturday, November 12, 3:00 – 9:00
Light Parade begins at 5:30
For more information:
Or 510-537-5300 (Eden Area Chamber)