Harbor Area Holiday Traditions


By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

Tradition is sometimes a good thing. When the pace of change exceeds our ability to keep up, and when the world that we know starts to become unfamiliar, we retreat to the comfort of familiar places and rituals. We attempt to recreate memories of happier moments, even if it’s just our vision of the past through rose-tinted glasses. It’s what traditions are made for.

Thirty-one years ago, the business owners on the 1400 block of West 8th Street in San Pedro got together to build a brand new community adventure. They called it Candy Cane Lane.  Just about every year since, the eyes of local children have grown big with hypnotic glitter of the free snacks, the face painting, the carnival games and Santa Claus.

Years ago, Matt Lincir, owner of Alvas Music Store, created the large electrically illuminated candy cane decorations that now line the street. Each year his staff hangs them up and plugs them in.

This year’s celebration takes place, from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2, at Weymouth Corners.
Each season, free holiday music, street dancing, carnival games and live
entertainment compete for festival-goers’ attention.

In the early days of Candy Cane Lane, wondering eyes could scarcely believe that Santa, with his beard so white, had truly materialized from a store’s roof top in a flurry of artificial snow.

Mona Khalbourji, owner of Mandyz Boutique, a store that sells women’s apparel and
accessories, oversees the vendors and games for this annual celebration.

Among them, Crestwood Street Elementary School will teach youngsters how to make Christmas ornaments. The Parent and Teacher Organization for the Seventh Street Elementary School plans to sell candied apples and hot apple cider.

As usual, the local Boy Scouts will host a recruitment booth and distribute glow-in-the-dark wands, while the Girl Scouts will sell hot chocolate and chocolate covered pretzels or marshmallows from a separate booth.

Firefighters also will be present onsite to boost small children up into the fire truck so they may
see and feel what it’s like to sit inside the cab.

NutcrackerThe San Pedro Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker at the Warner Grand Theatre is another annual tradition. There’s something comforting about watching mice and gingerbread men fight in choreographed sequences.

This year’s production is on Dec. 10 at the Warner Grand. Purchase tickets from the ballet home of Misty Copeland, www.sanpedroballetschool.com

This year marks the 54th anniversary of the Afloat Parade in which a flotilla of yachts and boats lit up like Christmas trees cruise through the Los Angeles Harbor for all to see. The parade typically begins in the East Basin near Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington and will take about 90 minutes to cover the entire parade route up POLA’s Main Channel.

Spectators view the procession from several points along the channel, including the Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington; the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, 600 Sampson Way, San Pedro; Ports O’ Call Village, 1100 Nagoya Way, San Pedro; the Cruise Ship Promenade at Harbor Boulevard and Swinford Street, San Pedro; 22nd Street Landing, 141 W. 22nd Street, San Pedro; and Cabrillo Marina, 200 Whaler’s Walk, San Pedro. Viewers are invited to enjoy festive pre-parade events beginning at 4 p.m. This is relatively more recent tradition is the Winter Wonderland at Wilmington Waterfront Park, which precedes the afloat parade by a few hours.

The Wilmington Winter Wonderland started about nine years ago. Every year, the Port of Los Angeles trucks in 20 tons of snow.  Children, mostly younger than 12, attempt to make snowballs and throw them at each other or make little hills and snow angels.

The port often provides winter equipment such as gloves, cognizant that many of the children who will be coming have never before played in snow.

The Port of Los Angeles was going to host the Holiday Fountain event at the Fanfare Fountain, but cancelled months ago, believing it conflicted with too many other community events.

In what has become an annual tradition in Wilmington, the Banning Museum will be transporting guests back into time to a Victorian Christmas with people tooling around horse and buggies, women wearing big hoop skirts and men behaving like gentlemen.

Visitors are usually treated to period entertainment (basically volunteers or actors in period clothing singing carols) and tours of Phineas Banning’s mansion, which by will be decorated in 19th century holiday splendor.

Refreshments will be available and as well as crafts tables for making Victorian-era tree ornaments. As a special treat, a Queen Victoria re-enactor will receive guests for the two days and Jolly St. Nick will pose for photos with the children.

This year, the Banning Museum’s Annual Victorian Christmas Celebration and Open House is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 3 and 4, at The Banning Museum, 401 E. “M” Street, in Wilmington.


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