Dec 22

1964 Christmas Parade, Monterey St.

12-14-1964-slo-xmas-parade.jpgALL WRAPPED UP… John Somogyi gift wrapped himself for San Luis Obispo Christmas parade.

December 14, 1964

12-19-64-xmas-downtown.jpgPhotographers go to a lot of parades. I mean we photograph a LOT of parades.
The late-lamented Mardi Gras, a great parade.
It had creativity, color, energy and the understanding that if you have a parade at night, street lamps are not enough, put up some lights, a lot of lights.
The San Luis Obispo Christmas parade?
I’m sorry if this makes you mad, but someone has to speak up. San Luis Obispo, I am worried about you, I only bring this up because I care. Look, the other parades have been talking and you need to know. It is time for an intervention.
A chain of fuming diesel trucks dragging flatbed trailers, a few hay bales and an distorted boom box churning out the same three Christmas tunes at ear bleeding volume is not a parade.
I’m not against vehicles in parades. The Shriners are great at Pinedorado; the antique farm equipment is my favorite part of Pioneer Day. It doesn’t have to be the Rose Float but put a little thought into the lighting.
We know this town has a deeper wellspring of creativity, we’ve seen it, why it only flows before Lent and not Christmas is a mystery.
Now let’s turn the clock back.
No wonder we have an obesity problem today, back in the 1960′s kids used their legs and walked in the parade, and it was in the daylight. It looks like the same route down Monterey Street. This is when the city was the hot shopping center for the county. Montgomery Wards and J.C. Penny’s were there to supply shoppers, as well as Sears, Woolworth’s and Riley’s all within a few blocks.
Which reminds me, I’ve gotta finish my Christmas shopping, happy holidays to everyone.

Photos by Jim Vestal

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  1. 1964 Paso Robles Christmas Parade
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  3. Marsh Street Parade
  4. 1968 La Fiesta Parade
  5. Harvest Festival Parade