As part of a decidedly different sort of marching scene that took over downtown Oakland on Saturday, after the tense protesters-versus-police encounters of recent months, giant balloons, festive floats and spirited marching bands filed down Broadway.
Families flocked to the 12th annual Comcast America’s Children’s Holiday Parade, lining Broadway from 20th to 11th Streets and stretching all the way to Lake Merritt, where a short while earlier, a religious processional had brought walkers from East Oakland to the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
The children’s parade, founded and managed by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, dates back to 2000. This year’s crowd was greeted by costumed creatures like the Berenstain Bears, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, and the Cat in the Hat while special guests, like PBS host and children’s singer Mr. Steve, serenaded the crowd from atop moving floats. Massive balloons towered over Broadway Street as well, including a candy-themed Nutcracker and PBS character Sid the Science Kid.
Also serving as a holiday championship for the marching band circuit, the parade hosted bands from Napa to Stockton and featured groups from Jamaica and Guatemala.