CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — In typical laidback style, Santa and his elf, dressed in a hip version of the traditional green costume, strolled through Cardiff Town Center on Dec. 10 to celebrate the second annual Kringle Mingle.
During a brief respite from the pouring rains, the gathering was a festive affair. “It’s nice that the clouds broke,” Sharon Spears said. “This is a fun thing to have for everyone so I’m really glad it finally stopped raining.”
Hosted by the Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce, the event brought together vendors and entertainers from 4 to 8 p.m. “This is a way to get the community out and familiar with some of the shops and the surroundings,” said Brad Maassen, chamber board of directors president. “It’s another event that’s growing in Cardiff.”
In fact, the consistent crowd was composed mainly of local residents. “It’s nice to have a central location for these types of events that’s so close to home,” Janet Pearl said. “We walked over, no packing the kids in the car and schlepping to a shopping mall to see Santa.”
Attendees were treated to hot cocoa and snacks, entertainment and more than 15 local vendors. “We tried to keep it arts and crafts oriented,” Maassen said. Several artists hawked their wares including Karla Ogilvie, whose book, “Encinitas InSight: A Photographer’s Journey,” depicts local flare through her lens.
While the poinsettia Christmas tree was a visual focal point of the evening, Merri Miles impressed the crowd with her bagpipe renditions of holiday carols. Chanara Casey Richmond was dressed in Victorian era garb as she belted out familiar Christmas tunes. A barbershop quartet and students from a local guitar school also added to the evening’s entertainment.
“Hearing the music and bundling up outside really gets you into the spirit of the season,” Pearl said as her children asked for more hot chocolate. “I love the soup from Rimel’s,” she said, taking a second helping of the steaming food.
The chamber achieved a measure of success by bringing the community together according to several of the attendees. “This event has a very small town feel to it,” said Doug Balfour. “I hope people continue to come out and enjoy it because I’d like to see it become a part of our annual holiday tradition.” Suzanne Shelton said she hopes to see more participants next year. “I’ve seen so many of my friends here tonight and the kids get to play and have fun in a holiday atmosphere,” she said.