Shore is the season to enjoy a Christmas parade on Second Street

Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go? Who wouldn’t go to the Belmont Shore’s most beloved yuletide tradition: the 38th annual Christmas Parade on Second Street.

The spectacle of lights and glitter will promenade through the 15-block seaside business district on Saturday, Dec. 3. Organized by the Belmont Shore Business Association, thousands of families watch the parade each year, getting a sentimental feeling as they wave at the more than 100 elaborately decorated floats and walking entries — including Santa, in his festooned sleigh atop a fire engine, as the grand finale.

“There’s a certain small-town ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ feel to this Christmas Parade, but it’s also no small spectacle,” BSBA Executive Director Heather Kern said. “Families in Long Beach have made this one of the city’s largest special events and a not-to-be-missed holiday tradition.”

Among the high school marching bands, drill teams, elected city leaders and local beauty pageant titleholders, there are clear crowd favorites that return year after year, representing a who’s who of local businesses and organizations.

It takes more than a month of designing and decorating for the staff at the Aquarium of the Pacific to transform their animal rescue truck into a festive float, which is ridden by performing marine animal puppets. The puppets, wearing holiday costumes, include Seamore Shark, Elsie Sweetmitten (an otter), and Captain Hershel Quinn (a hermit crab), among others.

The aquarium has participated in the parade since its opening in 1998, and this year’s float promises “to be a splash” with a lot of bubbles, said the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Sarah Berman.

“We wanted to bring something really fresh and magical, and this is going to be really colorful,” said Berman, who acts as the aquarium’s Pacific Pals puppet show manager and creative producer. “It is just pure magic.”

Also promenading through Belmont Shore will be the SoCal Corgi Nation, a group of dog lovers and their short-legged friends who’ve walked, or been pulled in tiny wagons, in the Second Street parade since 2013. The late Queen Elizabeth’s favorite type of dog, the Corgis come in royal style, wearing various combinations of sparking hats, bows and felt reindeer antlers.

“The parade is one of our favorite events of the year, and we encourage the humans and the Corgis to dress up,” SoCal Corgi Nation Founder Kelly McLemore said, noting that there will be a special miniature float being pulled alongside the dogs. “The Corgis are ready to march and bring big smiles to everybody’s faces.”

Besides dogs in jingle bells, Second Street itself — home to more than 250 independent businesses — is decked with lights and Long Beach-centric décor this time of year, with views of Long Beach’s Trees in the Bay and other quintessential SoCal Christmas decorations, such as lit palm trees.

“All I want for Christmas is for people visit Second Street and see what it’s all about,” Kern said. “There’s no place like Belmont Shore for the holidays.”

For more about the 1.2-mile parade, taking place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 between Livingston and Bay Shore Avenue, including the parade line up, visit The event also will be streamed live on that website.


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