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Village buzzes with holiday vibe

The La Mesa Village Association hosted the sixth annual Holiday in the Village on Dec. 4 with vendors, performers and a general holiday celebration set up from noon to 9 p.m. along Spring Street.

Although the event started off slow in the warm afternoon, La Mesa Village Association Community Liaison Elizabeth Ranta said it “picked up drastically once the sun started to go down,” as is usually the case with most of their events.

Not having as many performing groups this year also made it a “quieter” event, she said but final estimates from McFarlane promotions, an outside agency that helped organize and promote the event, counted about 7,500 attendees.

“Businesses said it was fantastic, they had a great day and we all found it to be very successful,” Ranta said.

Originally, she said, resident Tony Gaipa brought the event to the association years ago and “it’s exciting to see it keep moving forward” as it continues to grow, Ranta said.

At one end of the event, young dancers from El Cajon’s Center Stage School of Dance kicked off the event as they entertained the crowd with jazzy dance routines, carefully placing wooden platforms down to amplify the sound of their tap shoes.

At the other end, the La Mesa Lumber truck was decked out as a second stage with rotating groups of performers throughout the event.

Vendors lined the streets, from jewelers to bakers, crystal necklaces sparkling in the sunlight and woven blankets neatly folded for sale as the sun went down.

Near the center of the event, representatives from the Salvation Army collected donations in their iconic red kettle bell.

“We’re out here doing our annual Christmas fundraiser, hoping to take in as much as possible to help as many people as we can in this tight year,” Molly Dillon said, while also offering up information on their day camps.

Ranta later said the fact that all the vendors stayed until the very end of the event was telling.

Close by the Salvation Army booth, live piano music could be heard sprinkling from Sara’s Boutique storefront. Max Romero, 14 treated pedestrians to tunes as they walked down the street, simultaneously serving as advertising for his family’s store.

In addition to serving as a vehicle for promoting village businesses and encouraging locals to shop downtown, the holiday celebration featured a display on a proposed downtown La Mesa sign similar to ones found in other San Diego county neighborhoods.

La Mesa Village Association Treasurer Pam Rader, who manned an information booth on the proposed sign, noted the small city would be “one of the last cities in the area” to have a large sign defining its downtown shopping district.

The Leave a Legacy fundraiser allows residents to purchase tiles that will eventually be installed at the base of the sign as “a lasting tribute to our downtown village community,” Ranta said “so people can come back and show their grandchildren what they made.

Ideally, Rader said, they were hoping to gather at least $200 in donations at the event.

“Usually, vendors start packing up to leave between three and five unless it starts to pick up, but nobody left this year, they all stayed to the end,” Ranta said.

The next event La Mesa Village Association will be hosting is the summer car show that will kick off in June, 2022.

Village buzzes with holiday vibe

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Source: East County Californian

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