Let the Festivities Begin!: The holidays shine bright once again in Camarillo


By Tim Pompey

After a 2020 Christmas season that was spoiled by COVID, the holiday celebrations for 2021 in Camarillo are back. The music, the lights, the decorations, even a brisk “polar plunge.” Like treats on a family table, they are all scheduled and waiting to be enjoyed.


Let’s start with the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Old Town. Long a community tradition, last year pandemic restrictions on public gatherings led to the event being canceled, and for a while, there was some question as to whether it would return. But thanks to the support of the Camarillo City Council, the tree, featuring brand new commercial-grade bulbs, will be lit starting Wednesday, Dec. 1 through Friday, Jan. 28 at Dizdar Park in Old Town. And keep your ear to the ground as the Old Town Association plans additional events downtown.

The tree lighting will kick off a series of events in the city.

Letters to Santa

Do you still believe in Santa? Would your kids like to personally write to Santa? The Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District offers several ways to write to Kris Kringle.

Through Dec. 13, the district will put out its giant red mailbox to receive Letters to Santa. Encourage anyone who still believes in holiday magic to write their own letter and drop it in the mailbox at the Pleasant Valley Community Center, 1605 Burnley Street, Camarillo.

Use your own stationery, or you can download and print out a letter template online at www.pvrpd.org/files/1ac7e2efd/LettersToSanta_LetterTemplate.pdf.

Bring the letter to the Community Center and drop it in the giant red mailbox (you can’t miss it!) near the park district’s administrative office. Include your name and address on the letter or envelope so Santa can reply. No postage is necessary, but Santa will not mind if you promise to leave him cookies on Christmas Eve.

In addition, take a photo of you or your children placing the letter in the mailbox and share it with members of the park district. You may post it to the following sites: twitter.com/pvrpd; Facebook.com/pvrpd; Instagram.com/pvrpd.

If you include your return name and address, Santa will reply to each letter before Christmas.

Despite being the embodiments of a centuries-old tradition, Mr. and Mrs. Claus are very much up with the times. So, if you prefer to send Santa an email, contact him at sclaus@pvrpd.org. Be sure to leave your name so he can reply.

If you want to hand your letter directly to the man himself, he will appear at Santa’s Village after the Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 11. (More on that later.)

Dec. 11-12 Celebrations

The BIG events in Camarillo take place the weekend of Dec. 11 and 12.

Christmas Parade, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.

This year the parade is titled #Christmas Parade Community All-Stars#.

The parade itself is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11, starting at 10 a.m. It will begin at Temple Avenue and travel down Las Posas until it turns left on Carmen Drive and ends at the Pleasant Valley Community Center. The parade will feature bands, floats, automobiles, horses and an appearance by Santa Claus.

Rather than choose a grand marshal, the parade will honor important people in the community known as community all-stars.

If you plan to be in the parade, you can enter a community all-star name on your parade application form. Think of someone who has contributed to the local community. It can be someone from your family, your city, or even someone you know in the area who has made an important countywide or national contribution: a coach, a teacher, a family member, someone from the military, a music instructor, a business person, etc. The choice is up to you.

After attending the parade, bring your family and friends for a leisurely stroll through Santa’s Village, located at the Pleasant Valley Community Center. The village is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can shop, snack on some tasty treats, or pick up some valuable information from local vendors. Bring your children and let them visit and deliver their letter to Santa personally. It’s a wonderful way to create memories and enjoy the holiday season.

Annual Christmas Concert

On Sunday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m., come join the Camarillo Community Band for some free holiday music.

The band, which has been providing free concerts since 1986, features approximately 120 members from all walks of life. The band’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for local musicians to continue their love of performing music in an enjoyable environment and to provide an entertaining community concert experience for local residents of Ventura County.

In addition to Christmas music, the band regularly performs during the summer and at the Annual Memorial Day Service at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park.

Dive Into the New Year

After an abundance of holiday celebrations, what could be more fitting than a little New Year’s Day chill?

On Saturday, Jan. 1, 9-11 a.m., the Pleasant Valley Aquatic Center invites the hardy and brave to participate in their annual Polar Bear Plunge and Hot Cocoa Mixer.

The event starts with a walk/run through the park (choose from 1k, 3k and 5k courses) followed by an icy plunge into the pool. After all this, you can join the “bears” on the pool deck and warm up with some hot chocolate. The cost is $5 per person. You can register online at www.amilia.com/store/en/pleasant-valley-recreation-park-district/api/Activity/Detail?activityId=xlKpnNy. The aquatics center is located at 1030 Temple Avenue, Camarillo.

All Ventura County residents (and out-of-towners, too) are invited to come enjoy a festive season of activities in Camarillo.


For full schedule of events and additional information, visit the Pleasant Valley Recreation & Park District’s web page at www.pvrpd.org
or contact Connor Soudani, Recreation Coordinator, at csoudani@pvrpd.org
or 805.482.1996, ext. 116.