By Jeff Clemetson | Editor
Following last year’s success of the La Mesa Village Association’s inaugural Holiday in the Village, this year’s event looks to bring twice the fun.
“Last year was our first year as a new association in taking on the responsibility of it and so we went with a one-day event,” La Mesa Village Association (LMVA) event director Katie Halvin said. “It was quite successful, so this year [the board] decided to go to two days.”
Halvin pointed out that although Holiday in the Village is only in its second year, it is really a revamped continuation of La Mesa’s long-running Christmas in the Village tradition. Some of the changes the LMVA brought to the festive event, besides the name change, include live-music stages and an expanded footprint that will include the Lookout area at the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and Allison Avenue.
This year’s Holiday in the Village — held Dec. 9 and 10 —will feature many family-friendly entertainment activities such as pony rides, bagpipe bands sponsored by new Scottish restaurant Fourpenny House, face painting by Kat’s World Art, the Peace on Earth Carolers, an animatronic Christmas tree show, dance troops sponsored by Amythyst Moon, Santa, holiday movies for children, and live music.
“La Mesa Lumber has donated their historic truck again to be utilized as our stage and the main stage will be at the corner of Spring and La Mesa Boulevard,” Halvin said.
A highlight of this year’s event is the Toys for Tots toy drive sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps. People are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for ages infant to 12.
“They hope to bring in a tactical vehicle and then the goal would be to fill the vehicle with toys,” Halvin said.
Attendees can give thanks and holiday cheer to our troops by bringing signed seasonal cards, or they can make a designated art booth. Non-perishable food items will also be collected for local food banks.
In addition to the many restaurants in the village, there will also be an expanded selection of food trucks for the event.
“We’re bringing in quite a variety and making it a point to bring in trucks that will not compete with the local restaurants in the neighborhood,” Halvin said.
LMVA has also focused on bringing in as many craft and artisan booths as it can for shoppers looking for unique gifts. Halvin hopes that the effort pays off and that there will be more art vendors than in previous years.
“The historic complaint has been there wasn’t enough crafters and talented people as vendors — that there were too many construction and solar companies and so forth. So we really focused on trying to grab artisans,” she said. “That’s our struggle. That’s the hard part to do because it’s an expensive event.”
However, based on the feedback received after last year’s event, Halvin doesn’t think there is anything to worry about.
“The response exceeded our expectations,” she said. “The event was embraced whole-heartedly by both the city officials and the community. We didn’t receive any complaints.”
Holiday in the Village will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 10, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. in the La Mesa Village. Visit bit.ly/2h7ui3V for more information.
Shimmer and stroll
As a warm up to Holiday in the Village, the city of La Mesa and LMVA are also hosting another holiday event on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
“La Mesa Shimmer” features a lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at The Lookout Legacy Park where the switch is flipped, lighting up the village with holiday lights. Live music by Jose Molina and Rob Dove, the Sam Johnson Trio, the Encore Choir Carolers, and performances by The Dance Company will also be featured. Santa will be on hand and a contest for best holiday window display; turn in ballots at La Mesa Wine & Spirits.
Coinciding with Shimmer is LMVA’s quarterly Boulevard Stroll, where businesses along La Mesa Boulevard stay open later and invite the public to “dine, shop and explore” the village.
Shimmer and Boulevard Stroll runs 5–8 p.m. For more information, visit lamesaboulevardstroll.com.
— Reach Jeff Clemetson at email@example.com.