Temperatures in the 40s didn't stop residents Saturday evening from lining Washington Avenue in Murrieta to help usher in the holiday season.
that plagued scores of vendors who were set up near C Street in Historic Downtown Murrieta died down just in time for the city's sixth annual Holiday Push Cart Parade to get underway.
Residents Genevieve and Robert Deven live nearby, and walked over with their two children, Annabelle, 4, and Dylan, 2, prior to the parade.
The Historic Downtown Murrieta Association hosted a Holiday Crafters Village, which offered food and craft vendors, as well as free photos with Santa.
Little Annabelle said she told Santa she wanted a "princess dress" for Christmas.
"We got a few items," Genevieve said. "Last year we saw the parade, but this was really nice to be able to come out and talk with local vendors and have the kids talk to Santa."
Gracie Kempf from Temecula was among the vendors who braved the gusty winds to set up shop at 6 a.m.
"It was terrible," Kempf said. "I think it was so cold and windy people didn't want to get out."
Youth with the Murrieta Fire Explorers volunteered thoughout the day by helping vendors set up and take down tents, and handed out sand bags to anchor the tents from the wind.
But by parade time, many of the warm hats and scarves being sold by vendors become hot commodities as the crowd readied for the old fashioned, non-motorized show of holiday spirit to begin.
Joe and Melissa Mendez of Temecula staked their spot early for the parade by getting there at 3:45 p.m. They warmed up with donuts, hot chocolate and coffee from
"We've (lived) out here eight years, and we didn't know about this," Melissa said. "This is pretty neat, it's really festive."
Murrieta police motor officers sounded their sirens to signal the beginning of the parade, but they would be the only motorized entries. City organizers said there were 34 entries this year, up from 22 last year.
The creative, lit-by-battery-power entries started to roll, and included local organizations and businesses as well as city departments.
The Friends of the Murrieta Library and library staff got into the spirit by wheeling holiday-lit book carts. Their Polar Express Book Cart was a sparkling hit with the crowds.
The Historic Downtown Murrieta Association wheeled a miniature train cart as a tribute to the railway that ran through the downtown area at the turn of the 20th century, hauling grain, cattle and passengers.
Members of the Murrieta City Council walked in costume alongside a Charlie Brown Christmas entry.
But the parade wasn't complete until Santa and Mrs. Claus rode in last on a horse-drawn carriage. With a magical twist of Santa's wand, the city's Christmas tree on the corner of Juniper and Washington lit up.