Community members in Lone Pine have rallied together to ensure that Santa Claus comes to town for the community’s annual Christmas Parade.
The Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo and Caltrans District 9 are currently working to get all their ducks in a row to ensure the Lone Pine Christmas Parade comes to fruition, albeit a week later than originally scheduled, Saturday, Dec. 15, on Main Street.
Last week, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce announced that the annual parade was cancelled because parade organizers at the Chamber were unable to create a Traffic Handling Plan that is necessary to obtain the permits required by Caltrans to close Main Street for the event.
Caltrans said that, due to heightened scrutiny at the state level, it began requiring official, civil engineer-approved traffic plans for road closures. In the past, the state agency was able to work with local communities to approve road closures with unofficial plans.
Lone Pine Chamber Executive Director Kathleen New said last week that she was notified too late of the requirements Caltrans is now enforcing for the permitting process and didn’t have time to both plan the parade and develop the traffic plan.
As news that the parade had been cancelled spread across the community last week, Lone Pine residents rallied to the cause, dividing the workload between the Chamber of Commerce, which is the event’s traditional host, and Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo, which has traditionally been a “go-to” organization for event planning and coordination in the community.
“Healthy Communities is happy to assist the Chamber of Commerce in making sure the residents of Lone Pine continue to enjoy the annual Christmas Parade tradition,” said Healthy Communities Director Charles James. “This holiday event brings our community closer together at a time of year when goodwill, which is major aspect of the holiday, is especially welcomed by everyone.”
New said James will take the lead in working with Caltrans to ensure that an acceptable traffic plan is developed.
Caltrans “is really trying to work with us to get these permits through” in time for the parade, New said.
In addition to Healthy Communities, the Inyo County Public Works Department has stepped forward to help by providing all the necessary equipment, such as road closure and detour signs, that are required to obtain the permits from Caltrans.
According to James, who is working with Caltrans, the District 9 office has stepped up to offer assistance in creating the Traffic Handling Plan – just as they did for the Big Pine Homecoming Parade in October.
Another requirement creating confusion, James said, was an obligation to provide “proof that the company, or persons, implementing the THP detour has a California C3 1Construction Zone Traffic Control license or greater.”
James said that anyone with a California Construction Contractor license meets that requirement, so Jaque and Art Hickman of Hickman Construction have offered to take care of that requirement.
“Jaque is also the President of the Healthy Communities Board, a long-time chamber member and one of our strongest community supporters,” James said. “She was determined to make sure this parade would take place and worked behind the scene to ensure that it would, hence the offer of Healthy Communities’ and her own personal and professional resources.”
The Lone Pine Christmas Parade will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 on Main Street. Everyone is invited to attend and/or participate.
The theme this year is, “The Joy That is Christmas.”
In addition to the parade, the Lone Pine Chamber will be hosting its Christmas Open House at the Courtyard Gallery from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14.
During the event, the Chamber will be showcasing Native American artworks, watercolors, pottery and professional art photography.
Many of the artists will be in attendance to discuss their work and there will be a 10 percent discount on all sales.
For more information on the open house or the parade, contact the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce at (760) 876-4444.