OCEANSIDE — All eyes looked to the sky at Mission Marketplace on Nov. 28, awaiting Santa’s arrival by parachute. A plane hovered overhead and out popped a small red spec followed by a trail of smoke that slowly grew into the recognizable jolly figure as he fell closer to the crowd on the ground. A safe landing brought cheers from hundreds waiting to meet Santa Claus.
Sarah Wright, her husband and her son Garvi were among those cheering Santa’s arrival. “We came just as Santa was dropping out of the sky,” Wright, of Oceanside, said. The annual parachute arrival of Santa Claus is a yearly must-see for many boys and girls. For 11-month-old Garvi, it was a first. “He thought it was so exciting,” Wright said. “It’s his very first trip to see Santa.”
Cynthia Gonzalez, marketing director of NewMark Merrill Companies, estimated a crowd of 1,000 attended the event. “It’s a staple, I think everybody in Oceanside knows Santa Claus parachutes into Mission Marketplace every year,” Gonzalez said. “Its just a great community event that we do to thank all our shoppers.”
To celebrate Santa’s arrival there were free kiddy rides, entertainment and food for families to enjoy. “I went on the train, took a picture with Santa,” 6-year-old Antonio Reyes of Oceanside, said. Next, Antonio planned to eat some cotton candy.
“It’s very exciting, there’s nothing like it in San Diego,” Gonzalez said. The winter wonderland boasted 7-foot-tall balloon snowmen, a kid’s crafts area to decorate stockings and ornaments, a photo tent to take pictures with Santa, and snow was brought in to frolic in. Throughout the afternoon roaming carolers, magicians and stilt walkers entertained the crowd.
“There’s face painters, balloon artists everything you can think of for families to enjoy,” Gonzalez said. “We just try to kick off the holiday spirit. It’s just a way for us to give back to the community.”
See video from Santa parachuting into Oceanside at www.coastnewsgroup.com.