Due to Public Health Orders, This Year’s Visit Was a Social Distanced Drive-Thru
By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Santa Claus surprised the Pacific Palisades community by making a stop at Temescal Canyon Park on Friday afternoon, December 18 as part of this year’s annual Ho Ho Ho! (To-Go) series of events.
A beloved community tradition for more than 60 years, Santa Claus and his team have visited the Palisades each holiday season during Ho! Ho! Ho! This year’s event offered a drive-thru experience in compliance with Public Health regulations due to COVID-19.
Members of the community were invited to see lights and decorations, and to listen to Santa from inside their car as they cruised through the “unique, elf-built spectacular.”
Organizer Lou Kamer said the turnout was more than he imagined, with well over 100 cars that came through.
“If we had gotten only 15, that would have been alright,” Kamer said with a laugh. “The most incredible thing was watching the kids as they would come around in their cars … looking, looking, looking for Santa, then they saw him and there was just this joy that we haven’t seen in town.
“It was great, it got me a little teary-eyed actually.”
Kamer explained that it was important to him and all the other organizers to find a way to bring holiday cheer safely to the Palisades with the Ho! Ho! Ho! event, even with the challenges of putting it together amid a pandemic.
“You see all the kids and parents in town and they are so worried … isolated, it’s so hard … I said we have to do something and try to bring a little happiness,” Kamer said. “As a group, we had a lot of setbacks and difficulties … but everybody picked up a little bit.
“It shows the community if we all work together and can all come together, we can get amazing things done.”
This year’s annual Ho! Ho! Ho! also offered an almost-month-long celebration with events planned in a virtual format. Festivities included the Greatest Pet Photo Contest, Santa on HoHoHo’s YouTube channel and more.
The Greatest Pet Photo Contest ran from December 3 through the 23, in search of the cutest or funniest photo of the community members’ pets. Photos were uploaded to social media, allowing neighbors to vote. Over 300 entries were submitted by the time the Palisadian-Post went to print Tuesday evening.
The top three entries will win prizes from local businesses, including Caffe Luxxe and Collar & Leash and Collections Antiques and Accessories.
Kamer said the community is also invited to contribute to a “Gratitude Wall,” a large poster located at Paliskates for people to leave messages for the holidays, their neighbors or for the community starting Tuesday, December 22.
Regarding next year’s Ho! Ho! Ho! Kamer shared that he hopes the event can return to the YMCA Tree Lot.
“We hope that next year is going to be more of a normal one … that we can find a way,” he concluded.
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