On Saturday November 17th the Otay Ranch Town Center hosted their 6th annual Holiday parade. The event is held each year the weekend before Thanksgiving to welcome Santa to the center. This year the parade honored 60 kids and their families from the South Bay Family YMCA who have been affected by military deployment. The kids were treated to a VIP hot chocolate and cookie hour with Santa. They also got the chance to march in the parade and be cheered by the crowd.

“Deployment is hard for any military family; deployment during the holiday season is even harder,” said Tim Colby, senior general manager of Otay Ranch Town Center. “We are thrilled to partner with the South Bay Family YMCA to support their members in the military,” he added.

One special little boy got a real treat during this year’s parade. Ryan Fenwick, seven years old,  of Chula Vista was “Santa’s Helper” and “Honorary Tree Lighter” for the event. Ryan’s dad Daniel is attached to the USS Peleliu and will not be home until at least next Easter. Mom Orie is taking care of not only Ryan but also nine-month-old daughter Alice. To help brighten their holidays, Ryan not only got to light up  the tree, but he also got to climb into Santa’s car for the parade and officially launch the holiday season at Otay Ranch Town Center.

This year’s parade was a big hit. They had 32 participants, the most they have ever had for this event. The center of the mall was also packed from REI to the holiday tree with families all ready to see a parade.

“We normally don’t make it to this parade, but since the Starlight Parade in Downtown Chula Vista was cancelled I wanted to bring the kids up here to see the parade,” said Eastlake resident Jamie Thryce.

This year the Starlight Parade has been replaced by a Holiday Festival on December 1st after safety concerns came up due to the Third Avenue Streetscape Project.

Otay Ranch Town Center Holiday Parade: Photos By: Kurt Bunch