By DONNA BETH WEILENMAN
MARTINEZ, Calif. – There’s one requirement for Friday’s holiday parade, said Barbara Patchin: “Lights!”
For almost 20 years, Martinez has become known for one of the brightest seasonal processions, the Martinez recreation coordinator said.
That’s because every entry, even those who walk along the floats and bands, must have illumination, Patchin said.
Participants will march to Alhambra Street, then head toward the downtown shopping district. After a right turn and a procession along Main Street, the parade will conclude at Ferry Street.
Motor traffic will be halted along the parade route starting about 5:30 p.m., Patchin said. Most streets will reopen about 7:30 p.m., although streets along the downtown plaza will remain blocked off until 9 p.m.
Patchin said the beginning parade entry changes year to year, but this year’s edition will have its traditional conclusion.
“Liz Phelan will have a snow blower,” Patchin said. That will provide a wintery touch to the parade’s grand finale entry, Santa Claus.
Mrs. Claus, who is known in Pinole by the name Dorothy Johnson, will also make an appearance, she said. But Mrs. Claus won’t be in a sleigh. She’ll be riding in style in a 1964 ½ convertible Mustang.
Other entries are such companies as Les Schwab Tires, such vehicles as the van from Martinez Early Childhood Center, and such area organizations as the Model T Club, Creekside Church and Liberty Gymnastics of Concord, she said.
“We’ll have floats and people walking, including children,” she said. But each one has to be carrying or wearing lights, whether they’re the ones provided by the Parks and Recreation Department, glow sticks from a party store, wearable Christmas tree lights or some other illumination. “Everyone has to be lit up,” she said.
“It’s a children’s parade,” Patchin said, adding that it’s free to the public.
But there are far more activities taking place that will entertain both children and adults, Patchin said.
Starting at 3 p.m., children can participate in the outdoor Elves Workshop at the Martinez Arts Association, 630 Court St. The Dumpster Diving Divas will guide the youngsters in making ornaments of recycled products.
From there, children can go to the Martinez Public Library’s Candy Cane Lane, 740 Court St., where they’ll find more holiday activities to do.
The Reindeer Stop is at the Veterans Memorial Building, 930 Ward St., where children can participate in Reindeer Flying School so they can help Santa if the jolly elf seeks additional drivers on his famous Christmas Eve flight.
The Gingerbread House and its activities, which usually set up in the Martinez Museum, will take place at the Veterans Memorial Building, since the museum is undergoing repairs.
At Natural Healings Wellness Center, 1034 Court St., children can have hot cocoa with Frosty the Snowman.
Outside the wellness center is a tall Tree of Spirit, which the city will light between 5-5:30 p.m., accompanied by the music of the Martinez Community Choir.
Children’s activities, from arts and crafts to giant game boards and basketball hoops, will continue at the Main Street Plaza.
A troupe of volunteers will paint faces, apply temporary tattoos, paint fingernails and guide children in game play.
At the Ward Street parking lot across from the Campbell Theater, children can play in a pile of snow until 9 p.m., Patchin said.
Not all activities are targeting children, she said. For the first time this year, Martinez is having its own Ugly Sweater Contest.
The contest, a collaboration of Martinez Parks & Recreation and Barrelista Coffee, will take place at the coffee shop, 736 Main St., at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4. Prizes will be awarded for most creative, funniest, most sparkle and “ultimate ugly” categories.
Those who want to participate in the parade and want to order lights to carry, may call Martinez Parks & Recreation, (925) 372-3510.
In addition, Main Street Martinez’s Holiday Frolic activities include a genuine ice rink, brought by DC Solar and Pacific Gas & Electric, which will remain set up at the parking lot at Marina Vista Avenue and Ferry Street through Jan. 3.
The rink is available for parties. Ice skating classes are offered at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturdays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
The rink is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 11 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. General admission is $10 before 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and $14 from 5-8 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 17.
Starting Dec. 18, admission is $14 for all hours, and the rink will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 3. The rink will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 24, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 25, 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31 and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Jan. 1.
Group and season rates are available. The ice rink’s webpage is http://downtownholidayice.com.