Local events gift holiday cheer to Pomona residents

To ensure the safety of residents while still celebrating the holiday season, Pomona will be bringing holiday cheer through a new medium: drive-thru events.

Two COVID-friendly holiday events located in Pomona for Cal Poly Pomona students to attend are the Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey and the Dashing Thru Downtown Parade.

The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey is an immersive drive-thru experience currently operating at the Fairplex until Jan. 3, 2021 that will rely on the elf-disguised attendees to help Santa drive up the Christmas spirit in town. All guests will experience the event from their own cars with a minimum of two and a maximum of eight passengers per car. Each passenger must have their own ticket.

“The local event​ aims to offer an enchanted escape by way of a multi-sensory marvel,​ complete with a spirit-stirring score and a light-filled spectacle,” said representatives at the  Constellation Immersive and The Lumistella Company, the two companies organizing the event, in a Sept. 17 press release. “From the ​comfort and safety of guests’ vehicles, the experience ​takes patrons on an hour-long adventure to help save Christmas after Santa Claus encounters a sleigh mishap.”

The show will put attendees right in the shoes of the Elf on the Shelf as participants and elf scouts help Santa find the Christmas spirit. The show is full of “elf-tacular acts of cheer,” and guests are encouraged to keep an eye out for Santa as he searches for his sleigh, according to the event’s website.

The creative team behind the event includes David Korins, the set designer of the original Broadway productions of “Hamilton,” “Beetlejuice” and “Dear Evan Hansen” and Curtis Moore, the composer behind “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

Each vehicle is required to have at least one smartphone to experience the event. If one isn’t available, guests can contact info@elfontheshelfjourney.com 24 hours before attending the event to reserve a temporary smartphone.

Tickets for the show are $24.95 per passenger, but children under two years old are admitted for free.

Health and safety were major considerations this year, and all passengers are required to remain in their vehicles during the show in compliance with local COVID-19 safety measures.

Safety regulations that will be enforced include only allowing guests to leave their vehicles to use the restroom before or after the show with face coverings, restricting convertible vehicles and preventing guests from riding on the beds of pickup trucks.

Another holiday event returning with COVID-19 safety guidelines is the annual Dashing Thru Downtown Parade taking place on Dec. 12. All attendees will be required to wear masks inside their vehicles, practice social distancing and get their temperature checked at the check-in booth.

This year, the parade switched from its traditional format to a drive-thru experience, allowing spectators to drive by the grand holiday decorations.

Last year, the event included a vintage car show, folklorico dancers and grand marshal Larry Egan, the executive director of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association, parading through the streets. This year, no participants have been confirmed except for the grand marshal and first responders from the Pomona Valley Regional Hospital.

All participants were required to submit a COVID-safety compliance form to report the health status of all members of each display, according to Marco Argote, the creative director of the parade.

“We couldn’t cancel,” Argote said. “We would be taking away from a lot of our businesses. Families look forward to this every year. We wanted to attract families to downtown without sacrificing holiday cheer.”

Guests will need to register one ticket per vehicle regardless of how many people are inside. As of Nov. 26, 35 participants have registered for the parade, including radio station Power 106, with 97 cars registered to attend with an estimate of 450 individual guests.

Leading up to the parade, downtown Pomona will be holding its own Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt to encourage traffic to the area. Local residents are encouraged to visit downtown on any of the 12 days leading up to the parade and hunt for an Elf on the Shelf that will be placed in businesses’ windows. Locals can take a picture of the Elf on the Shelf and upload it on social media to enter a contest with a prize of $150 worth of collectible toys.

Students can register for a free parade through Eventbrite. More information can be found on its Instagram account or its website at http://www.downtownpomona.org/pomonachristmasparade.

For more information on the Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey, visit https://elfontheshelfjourney.com.

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