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Holidays in Mission Plaza return, Santa and other traditions coming in this week

Santa Claus' San Luis Obispo home
Posted at 12:50 PM, Nov 22, 2021

Last year, Santa Claus practiced social distancing in San Luis Obispo because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, he will return on Friday, Nov. 26, when the Plaza officially opens.

Staff and volunteers with Downtown SLO are decorating Mission Plaza all week.

Bettina Swigger, the CEO of Downtown SLO, said, “We are going to have outdoor visits with Santa at his house, at his front lawn for kiddos. We’ll have the classic carousel and we’ll have lots of fun lights and decorations.”

Families will be able to take photos with Old Saint Nick, and there will be a bench where children can sit beside him to tell Santa their Christmas list.

“So we are going to have visits with Santa Thursday through Sunday every weekend through Christmas," Swigger said.

Santa is famous for his big red sleigh, but this Friday he will drive up to the plaza in style.

“Santa will come in one of our antique fire trucks thanks to SLO City Fire Department," Swigger said. "We are going to kick that off all on Friday.”

The holiday plaza will be open through Jan. 2.

Attendees are encouraged to wear masks, and organizers say Santa is vaccinated.

The CEO of Downtown SLO said a lot of new businesses have opened since the pandemic started.

Downtown businesses will be decorating their windows for the holidays. The theme for this year is California Dreamin’.

Representatives from Downtown SLO said they have thousands of new lights and installations up for people to see. The goal is to attract visitors and locals to come and spend a day downtown.

“We'll have a 20-foot tall holiday tree decorated with ornaments. We're going to have a giant walk through holiday ornament," Swigger told KSBY. "We're so excited to show that to the community. And then we'll also have a walk-through lighted tree forest."

The 45th annual holiday parade, which will feature holiday-themed floats traveling through downtown San Luis Obispo, will happen on Dec. 3 this year and will continue the city's California Dreamin’ theme.