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44th annual Downtown SLO Holiday Parade celebrates holidays around the world

Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 22:49:28-05

In the early morning hours Friday, people set out chairs and blankets in downtown San Luis Obispo in hopes of getting front row seats for the holiday parade.

The 44th annual Downtown SLO Holiday Parade draws thousands of people together for the holiday season.

The city hopes to bring everyone together with this year's "Holidays Around the World" theme.

"In the Santa's House, we get people coming in speaking all different languages so it's really fun to be able to share our San Luis Obispo traditions with people from all around the world," said Bettina Swigger, CEO of the Downtown SLO Association.

Parade organizers prepare months before the event.

"Our staff has walked an estimated 37 miles just putting up meter tags just indicating the streets will be clear for this fantastic community event," said Swigger.

For some, like Meredith Britz, it'll be her first time watching the 88 parade participants as they fill the downtown streets with holiday music, lights and cheer.

"My whole family is coming to watch the parade with me," said Britz.

With nearly 10,000 spectators expected to attend, police increased staffing for the event.

"We always do a threat assessment anytime we do an event like this in the city just to see if there is anything out there to indicate any additional threats happening," said Captain Brian Amoroso with the San Luis Obispo Police Department. "There's nothing to indicate for this event."

Captain Amoroso said officers are always ready to respond, but they also planned to have some fun greeting onlookers in their decked out Bearcat.