As Thanksgiving and the 46th annual Turkey Trot rapidly approaches, the City of Dana Point announced a full slate of festivities this holiday season.
The city and the Dana Point Harbor Partners kicked off the holiday season by illuminating light displays throughout the city and harbor last week.
More than 700,000 LED lights will illuminate the Dana Point Harbor through Jan. 14, featuring themed light displays such as a giant whale sculpture, lit-up palm trees, a giant beach ball ornament stack, and the iconic “Merry Kiss Me” arch.
Holiday lights will also be displayed on Del Prado, Pacific Coast Highway, Coast Highway in Capistrano Beach, Park Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive, Watermen’s Plaza, La Plaza Park, and Pines Park. There are also additional holiday decorations on the Pedestrian Bridge and Lantern District Archway on Del Prado.
Beginning on Monday, Nov. 27, residents can stop by the Community Center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and visit the “Giving Tree” to participate in Stocking Stuffers for Seniors. The “Giving Tree” features tags with gift ideas for male or female Dana Point seniors. Those interested in participating can bring a gift in a gift bag with the tag to the Recreation Division office by Dec. 11.
The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce is also encouraging residents to shop local this holiday season by launching its “Loyal to Local” shopping passport. Through Jan. 4, those shopping in Dana Point at participating businesses will receive a stamp on their passport equal to the amount of their purchase.
Residents who have filled their passport can submit it for a chance to win weekly prizes and a grand prize package. There’s no limit to the number of passports residents can submit. A list of participating businesses can be found at danapointchamber.com/holiday.
Bringing holiday spirit to local parks, Santa’s Jolly Trolley will be making stops at Sunset Park, Dana Woods Park, Sea Canyon Park and La Plaza Park on Dec. 2, culminating in a tree lighting ceremony at La Plaza Park at 5:15 p.m.
The tree lighting ceremony will feature carolers, a toy drive, hot chocolate and cookies. More information on the Jolly Trolley’s stop schedule or the tree lighting ceremony can be found at danapoint.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santa and his elves from the city’s Recreation Division will ride the Jolly Trolley, handing out pre-packaged treats for kids up to 12 years old. The recreation staff will also collect letters to Santa.
For families interested in writing letters to Santa, kids can either hand in their letters to the Jolly Trolley or mail the letters to: Santa Letters, c/o City of Dana Point Recreation Division, 34052 Del Obispo St., Dana Point, CA 92629.
The deadline to send a letter to Santa is Dec. 11. Those sending letters are asked to include a mailing address on the letter so Santa can send a return message.
The city will also host a tree lighting ceremony at Pines Park on Dec. 4, featuring carolers, hot chocolate, cookies and a toy drive. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for the drive.
Once the Jolly Trolley arrives at Pines Park, Santa and his elves at the city’s recreation division will hand out pre-packaged treats. The tree lighting is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.
In the Dana Point Harbor, families can take a boat ride with Santa for $5 per person, with proceeds benefiting Soroptimist of Capistrano Bay on Dec. 2 and 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Families can also take photos with Santa in the harbor Clock Courtyard on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, from 4 to 6 p.m., in front of the classic Dana Point Harbor VW bus.
The Pet Project Foundation will also host its annual Santa Paws in the harbor on Dec. 9-10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., where pet photos will be offered for a small donation, with all proceeds supporting the nonprofit.
The Dana Point Harbor’s 48th annual Boat Parade of Lights will return the weekend of Dec. 8, featuring uniquely decorated boats parading through the local harbor. This year’s parade theme is “Candyland,” with boaters vying for prizes from best overall theme, most original and more.
Continuing on the sweet theme, residents are also encouraged to participate in the Candy Cane Lanes Holiday Home Decorating Contest. The Dana Point Youth Board’s annual home decorating contest will take place from Dec. 18-21.
Youth board members will visit the homes entered in the contest and judge them for best overall, most creative and best use of theme. Winners will receive bragging rights, a sign to display on their yard and gift cards to local Dana Point businesses.
Residents interested in entering their home to be featured on the Candy Cane Lanes map published on the city’s website and social media can email email@example.com or call 949.248.3536. The deadline to enter the contest is Dec. 15, with winners being notified after Jan. 8.