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The Starlight Parade may be returning to western Chula Vista. For many years, thousands of families lined the sidewalks of Third Avenue waiting for Santa Claus to arrive; however, when economic times got tough, the parade was de-funded.

At the June 17 Chula Vista City Council meeting, the parade subcommittee (councilmembers Patricia Aguilar and Rudy Ramirez) secured a promise of $15,000 seed money to bring the parade back — but not without some surprising resistance.

Third Avenue is western Chula Vista’s main drag. Like a classy Cadillac in a side yard, the street is waiting to be restored to its former beauty and vitality. In the past two years, approximately $6 million was spent revamping a portion of Third Avenue’s streetscape.

At the June 17 meeting, councilmember Pamela Bensoussan was reticent to support

the return of the parade because she has heard from some members of the Third

Avenue Village Association (TAVA) that the parade “was not an event that was good for the village” and that TAVA members feared parade-goers would trample the new streetscape.

Councilmember Aguilar responded, “I find that ironic because here [the city] did all this beautiful landscaping and hardscaping to make Third Avenue a people place, but we can’t have people there.”

The stated mission of the Third Avenue Village Association is “to create, promote, and champion a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly destination leading to increased sales, property values and community pride.”

This conversation on the dais also prompted a comment from councilmember Mary Salas. She said a recent forum at the library demonstrated that “People are craving events that build community.” Salas lamented the loss of the vintage car show, which used to be held on Third Avenue every Thursday in the summer months. Salas challenged the Third Avenue group and the chamber of commerce “to get on the ball” and do some community building.

Aguilar went on to suggest that perhaps the city might guarantee the landscape and hardscape, or she suggested the parade might go down F Street, only crossing an intersection of Third Avenue.

Ramirez said that it is important to organize the event so it assists the merchants on Third Avenue, but he also said the parade is about “families, kids, and civic pride.”

In the end, Aguilar and Ramirez got the $15,000 seed money with the proviso they raise matching funds. The funding will be used, in part, to hire a professional event organizer.

Both Aguilar and Ramirez felt there would be no problem raising the funds; Ramirez said the parade could happen this December.

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anniej June 20, 2014 @ 5:54 p.m.

Third Avenue - 'Christmas' (oops not a politically correct term)/Starlight Parade go hand in hand.

Next thing you know they will be moving it to Olympic Parkway - for some strange reason 'old' Chula Vista has become a bad word (make that 3 bad words).

I have fond memories of this communities families celebrating the season and their community as they gathered on both sides of Third Avenue - clapping for the students who proudly marched with their school colors. Brownie /Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts with smiles from ear to ear as they walked and looked for the loving faces of family members.

Ah but that was before landscapes took priority over the taxpaying community.


eastlaker June 20, 2014 @ 7:56 p.m.

Bensoussan's attitude reminds me of the type of school librarian who really doesn't want anyone to check books out--or a recreation coordinator who would rather the facilities stay unused--it is so much more orderly that way!


Bvavsvavev June 21, 2014 @ 10:45 a.m.

I own a business on Third Ave along the route. It is a great event for the community and families! It also showcases those businesses on Third to those that don't normally go downtown. This tradition needs to continue. A few rotten apples should not ruin a great event for many businesses, families, and the Chula Vista Community at large!


oldchulares June 22, 2014 @ 9:16 a.m.

Chula Vista is my home town and I could not be prouder. Driving down good old Third Avenue brings back a truck load of fond memories. Friday night football games followed by pizza at LaBella's and Saturday it was the Vogue. Back then you could walk from place to place have fun then be picked up by mom or dad.


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