Non-stop Saturday fun with parade, train display, BCL, Ag Museum, LUAL, Santa train

November 29, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

Thanksgiving turkey is just the start of the long weekend in Santa Paula where Saturday will be packed with back-to-back holiday related activities for the whole family, from a parade and special train display and open houses at the library and a museum to a favorite traditional fundraiser and the annual visit from Santa riding into Santa Paula on a vintage train!

First up is the 64th Annual Optimist Club Christmas Parade, the oldest such procession in Ventura County, this year themed “Christmas in the Library!”

And of course with that theme, it is natural that the parade will be led by Grand Marshal Ilene Gavenman, the Children/Youth Librarian at Blanchard Community Library.

The annual procession will step out from 7th Street at 10 a.m. onto East Main Street and march through historic Downtown Santa Paula. 

Longtime parade coordinator Ron Merson said there will be floats, veteran groups, equestrians, kids, police, fire, elected officials, auto clubs, churches, Topa Topa Flywheelers, schools, businesses and more in the parade, with of course that very special guest Santa Claus expected to fly in for the day to end the procession! 

The parade will be broadcast live on and archived for on demand viewing; the parade will also be filmed by Time Warner Cable Channel 10 for later broadcasts. 

Merson noted that many of the events to be held Saturday have mentioned they will follow the annual Optimist Club Christmas Parade: “I feel proud that there is so much happening on Saturday, and the activities are because the parade is that day!”

You’ll have a blast following the parade to the various venues celebrating the holidays with unique events!

The Odd Fellows Lodge/Clock Tower right on East Main Street will open its doors to the second story 6th Annual Holiday Train Display, where the imaginations of kids and adults alike will climb aboard dozens of trains and settings along 800-feet of track for a ride unlike no other in Ventura County.

Viewing hours following the parade will be until 7 p.m.; thereafter visitors can enjoy the display Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturdays 1 to 7 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and other times by appointment; the exhibit will end December 29. Kids 5 and under are free, 6 to 12 years old are only a $2 donation each and for those 13 years old and older the donation is only $3 each.

To arrange a private Holiday Train Display tour or to purchase raffle tickets for the train sets that will be awarded the Sunday before Christmas, contact Wes Easley by email at or call 805-766-4400.

It’s a quick walk around the corner to the Blanchard Community Library Open House, 119 N. 8th St. where until 2 p.m. visitors will be able to see library upgrades, take part in a free raffle, enjoy music by Xavier “Big X” Montes & Friends and learn about who’s who and what’s what at the community library. 

Just a few walkable blocks way at 926 Railroad Ave. the Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum will host a free holiday party from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Guests can enjoy exhibits, sing Christmas carols with children, make crafts to take home and more. Museum guests should bring their cameras to take photos with Santa and one of the museum’s vintage tractors for only $5. Admission is free. Visit or call 525-3100 for more information.

You’ll have time for a nap before you head out to the 23rd Annual Light Up a Life to be held at 5 p.m. at the towering tree located in front of the United Water Conservation District headquarters, located at the corner of East Main and North 8th streets. 

The event benefiting Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group memorializes lost loved ones and recognizes those still held close, a celebration of caring that has become one of the community’s most endearing holiday traditions.

Lights cost only $10 each per remembrance or recognition, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony attracts many community members who enjoy music, a holiday sing-along and the reading of all names listed. Purchasing names will be possible at the event; the names of all those remembered and honored are published in the Santa Paula Times.  

Santa Claus just can’t get enough of Santa Paula and The Man with All the Toys will be back Saturday evening at about 6:50 p.m. when he rides into the Depot on a vintage train!

But on this visit Santa will be picking up toys for less fortunate boys and girls: each year Fillmore & Western Railway joins forces with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Association to distribute toys to needy children for Christmas. 

Those who visit Santa at the Depot are asked to bring an unwrapped toy.... and bring a camera for a family picture with Santa or his helpers including deputies and Santa Paula Police who will hand out candy canes!

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