Downtown Fresno Christmas Fun

December 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Thousands of people gathered in downtown Fresno Saturday for a decades-long Christmas tradition. Christmas cheer radiated through downtown as doggy Santas, baby Santas, and even a "Parker" Santa paraded down Fresno Street.

For many of the families who came to watch, the parade is an annual tradition. Jennifer Romero made the parade part of her birthday celebration as well, "just to celebrate Christmas and see all the kids and be in the holiday spirit."

Armando Alaniz brought his grand-daughter, Ariana, to see her very first Christmas parade. In the tough economy, families like his say it's important for the city to help create *free* holiday memories. "With the economy the way it is, what's happening right now, it's fantastic for the community," said Alaniz.

The free fun didn't end with the parade. For the second year, the Fresno Grizzlies teamed up with the City of Fresno to offer Christmas in the Park, a carnival complete with rides and music. The one dollar fee for rides could be waived by donating a canned good, coat, or toy and craft booths allowed kids of all ages to express their creative sides. As volunteer Jennifer Yang helped kids decorate paper trees, she said it felt like Christmas. "It feels like giving them a gift," said Yang.

As the sights and sounds of Christmas filled downtown Saturday, many who attended the carnival and parade say they're already looking forward to coming back next year. For the young and old, Christmas can never come too soon. "I love to give. It's always fun. I don't know why it's just Christmas. I wish it was all of the time," said 10 year old Cassel Squires.

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