Christmas in Paradise

Long Beach unites for the city’s 35th Christmas parade

Words and photos by Isiah Arias Contributor

Children in elf costumes dancing on top of a parade float.
Children participate in the opening float of the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade.

Colorful floats, local politicians, marching bands and athletes paraded down 2nd Street while thousands cheered during the  35th Annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade on Dec. 2.

The Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, orchestrated by the Belmont Shore Business Association, hosted more than 100 floats this year. Themed “Christmas in Paradise,” it featured dozens of floats in paradise-beach decor.

The parade started on Livingston Drive and looped around at Bay Shore Avenue. Every inch of the street was lined with joyful spectators.

This year, the Grand Marshal was Tony Azevedo. Azevedo is a renowned United States Olympic water polo player and a WIlson Classical High school alumnus.

Students and athletes from Long Beach State University, local high schools and junior high schools marched alongside the floats. Marching bands, girl scouts and boy scouts carried banners.

Support for the Beach was in abundance, especially apparent in the “Go Beach!” chants that echoed throughout the crowd when LBSU athletes passed by.

“I feel like the community really supports us,” said LBSU junior Christian Ayala. “It makes me feel like a part of Long Beach.”

LBSU graduate Hal Platts, whose LBSU hat attracted a lot of positive attention from parade-goers, agreed with Ayala.

“This is my first time going to the Christmas parade,” said Platts. “I can’t believe how many people come out to this. People have been yelling, ‘Go Beach’ at me all day. It feels really good to be a part of the Long Beach Community.”

In addition to students, there were hundreds of families present.

Local resident Brandon Summers has been coming to the parade for 13 years now. Summers and his family have made it a tradition to attend the festival.

“The festival has improved so much over the last 10 years,” he said. “We really enjoy coming.”