“Maple Street Plaza was bustling with craft vendors and shoppers. Downtown Escondido was alive today with seasonal spirit.”
— Matt Fox, realtor
Saturday started early and continued often around downtown Escondido with “A Superhero Christmas” kicking off at 9:30 a.m. at Escondido High School. That would be, in other words, the staging point for the Escondido Jaycees 65th Annual Christmas Parade.
Under cool, but sunny skies, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people attended the parade that ran 1.3 miles from the High School to Broadway and Grape Day Park.
Featuring more than 100 entries including around 25 floats and 10 marching bands, the parade fascinated and amazed as equestrian teams held sway and baton twirlers marched down Broadway to the parade’s inevitable conclusion.
Escondido Jaycees were expected Sunday to post the annual official parade video, which will be reposted here when available.
“The crowds were friendly at the end of the parade, many dog walker groups including the pet whisperers,” realtor Matt Fox said. “The Escondido High School marching band finished the parade strong with a fiery rock tune.
“Weather was perfect,” Fox said. “The Bandy Blacksmith shop was open with live exhibits of blacksmithing, Maple Street Plaza was bustling with craft vendors and shoppers. Downtown Escondido was alive today with seasonal spirit were at Grape Day park although the grass was soggy and muddy in spots.”
Following the parade, through 3 p.m. it was all hands on deck, the halls, and such, at Maple Street Plaza, just off Grand Avenue across the street from City Hall. Festivities include Santa and Teddy Bears for kids crafts, Christmas-themes food and performances by the Children’s Youth Orchestra Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Orchestra.
“Maple Street Plaza was bustling with craft vendors and shoppers,” Fox said. “Downtown Escondido was alive today with seasonal spirit.”
Later that day, art held sway
Art finished the day as it turned into night with 14 galleries and museums all within a 10-block walking area downtown participating. That would be between Centre City Parkway and Ivy Street, and between Woodward Avenue and Third Avenue.
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., several hundred art lovers and fellow travelers traversed the maze of fabulous paintings, sculptures and conceptual objets. Municipal Gallery/Escondido Arts Partnership at 262 E Grand Avenue became Ground Zero hosting around 300 visitors through the evening with many also participating as poets in a joint poetry/arts project embodied in a special book.
A highlight was a one-day only preview of San Diego State University art professor Matthew Hebert’s “Information Retrieval” collection of file cabinets stacked like Stonehenge at Heritage Garden Park, across from Municipal Gallery at Grand Avenue and Juniper Street. The crowdsourcing project was made possible by a $20,000 grant from the San Diego Foundation.
Hebert held court as he encouraged art walkers to contribute their memories to his file cabinet of dreams project. Additional content will be added in preparation for a much longer installation beginning next month at California Center for the Arts, Escondido.
“I’m collecting memories about people’s experiences with the landscape that have somehow been impacted by technology,” Hebert said. “I want it to be monumental, but I also want it to kind of be absurd.”
Municipal Gallery/Escondido Arts Partnership at 262 E Grand Avenue hosted around 300 visitors through the evening with many also participating as poets in a join poetry/arts project embodied in a special book.
Absurdity, thy name is fun, as art and art walked sauntered over to Art Hatch, the eclectic art collective across Grand Avenue from the pocket park. The 7,000-square-foot Art Hatch featured the work of 40-plus artists and complimentary Stone Brewing beer and BK Cellars wine.
Tasteful and color-filled, the gallery also hosted an opening reception for the first U.S. solo exhibit of Virginie Mazureau, lately of France, now of Carlsbad.
ArtWalk dates to the mid-1990s. The Escondido Municipal Gallery and Distinction Gallery has led the way through the years, joined by a baker’s dozen-plus-one of artistically rendered venues.