Courthouse Square was a vision of Santa hats, Christmas sweaters and reindeer antlers on Saturday during Redwood City’s annual Hometown Holidays, which returned for the first time since 2019.
“This was one of the best events we've had,” said Regina Van Brunt, one of the organizers from the Downtown Business Group. “Everyone seemed to be really happy.”
Attendance for the festivities was in the thousands. Van Brunt estimated four or five thousand, while one local news station estimated that some 10 thousand people attended the event between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to see featured performances from the San Francisco Bell Choir and the Mission San Jose High School band, a bungee jump and snow lot for kids and pop-up shops on the plaza. Families from near and far milled around the Downtown area, snacking on funnel cakes and Kettle corn, taking photos with Santa and riding a mini train up and down Broadway. The surrounding streets were adorned in garlands and lights, and holiday tunes filled the air.
As in past years, the parade brought a surge in attendees who gathered around the Square to cheer on the 25 participants, including gymnasts, a marching band, local girl scout troops, dancers and the SamTrans holiday bus.
“It’s wonderful,” said Ping Yang, a Mountain View resident who was there for the first time with her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Emily.
For others, like long-time Centennial residents John Johnson and Jimmy Hedges, it’s an annual tradition.
“It’s been good so far,” said Johnson, who’s attended every year since Hometown Holidays started. He added that he was happy to be back after two years, but said he missed the firework shows of the past.
The event, which has been running for over fifteen years and is sponsored by the city, was cancelled last year because of the pandemic. Van Brunt said they took extra safety precautions this year, like asking Kaiser to donate masks for attendees.
“I know parents are protective, and I would be too if I had little ones,” she said, adding that the event was important for kids in the community who “have not had anything really fun in two years.
“Returning from COVID, this was one of the first events that felt like we were back.”
Leah Worthington is the lead reporter at the Redwood City Pulse. Leah can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter, and by phone at 650-888-3794. To read more stories about Redwood City, subscribe to our daily Express newsletter on rwcpulse.com.