Letter to the Editor: Downey Christmas Parade

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Downey Chamber of Commerce, I would like to thank the citizens of Downey that participated in our Elf Run, watched the 65th Annual Christmas Parade, and ate and relaxed at our Winter Wonderland Food Festival. It was an amazing day for the Chamber and we really appreciate the numerous volunteers and the public that came out and supported our events.

The inaugural Elf Run attracted over 200 runners. Nearly 80% of those who ran were youth from DUSD.  Entrance fees for these young runners were generously donated by PIH Health and Assemblymember Cristina Garcia.  

The Christmas Parade, themed “Coming Home for Christmas”, was viewed by thousands of Downey residents. We picked that in an effort to showcase groups and organization within Downey and give them a chance to be “center stage” while hearing the applause and cheers from the entire community!

We also initiated the Winter Wonderland Food Festival for families to enjoy some treats while the children visited Santa. The goal of the Chamber was to create some great family memories, and, based on the comments I’ve received, that was exactly what we did. For 2017, with some improved planning, we hope these events will become part of Downey’s holiday traditions for years to come.

Even though the majority of comments have been very supportive of our events, I do not live in a cave and I am very aware of several concerns that have appeared on social media. First off, regarding the 5K run, I am aware that the earlier than expected street closures negatively impacted some areas surrounding the course. There were over 450 homes and businesses impacted by the road closures on Sunday morning, though the Chamber did distribute a door hanger detailing the streets closures, alternative parking options to minimize any inconvenience, along with a phone number to our office should you need transportation between your home/office and where your car was parked.  

I know now that effort was not enough. For any personal inconvenience, I am truly sorry and will work hard in 2017 to make sure that everyone in the area is not only aware of these events but to ensure that these events will have a minimal impact on your Sunday morning.

There has also been some negative “chatter” regarding the parade entries chosen this year. The Christmas Parade Committee takes very seriously those who represents our local organizations navigating Downey Avenue. Each entry has either a history with our event or, if in the case of a new applicant, they are fully vetted and must be approved weeks prior to the parade.

With our theme “Coming Home for Christmas”, we are proud that over 86% of the entries in our parade came from the City of Downey. Dance teams, marching bands, scout troops, and local sports teams were all a part of Sunday afternoon and the Chamber was so happy to see much support for these groups and many of them have already asked to be part of next year.  

The parade committee does its best to provide a wide variety of entries that will represent the diversity and inclusiveness of the Downey community

As was the case in 2016, the Chamber’s Parade Committee will be once again make preparations for 2017.  The Chamber truly appreciates hearing from anyone about the parade, the Elf Run and the food festival. If you would like to assist in next year’s planning, I invite you to contact us and be a part of these amazing events. Call the Downey Chamber of Commerce at (562) 923-2191.

Michael Calvert
Executive Director
Downey Chamber of Commerce