Bringing in the holiday season with Mother Goose online

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The annual Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon has been hampered by the coronavirus which has forced the cancellation of many outdoor celebrations, from Fourth of July picnics to holiday parades. But organizers have worked to bring the region a virtual parade.

For 74 years, the Mother Goose Parade has never been canceled. And this year, a creative team of people are making sure that tradition continues. “It’s a Whole New World” is the parade’s first virtual parade and the Mother Goose Parade Association is creating “something joyful that leads everyone into the holiday season,” said Deborah Chandler, MGPA parade operations.

“We thought we could do a more fun, engaging and a better job by putting this together digitally and from this point forward we will continue putting the same digital package together for the parade,” she said. “All of the people out of town, or do not want to come down in public will have this option in the future. We are quite excited about that. It really broadens the reach of the Mother Goose Parade.”

Chandler said the Association’s partnership with ABC 10 San Diego for the past two years, that digitally streamed the parade, was a natural fit for this year’s digital production. She said it already had the foundation to transition and that ABC was more than willing to produce the fun, family holiday event for the community.

“We are completely revamping the first 30 minutes with all new features,” she said. “Our host is commentator Mark Grant of the San Diego Padres and ABC 10’s digital director Mark Saunders who will virtually introduce personal video messages coming from participants, sports leagues, the city of El Cajon, celebrities that participate every year, band performances. We are doing this with safe distancing and following all protocols.”

The second half is a condensed version of the 2019 parade, hosted by East County’s safety expert Monica Zech and KPBS’s Ken Kramer. Videographers are shooting new footage in downtown El Cajon underneath the arch where the parade typically takes place. There is a section working with the history of the Mother Goose Parade and bring in some historical vintage clips. It will also pull in clips from the 2019 parade.

“When we started talking to people, they were very enthused and right now we are putting together the parade,” said Chandler.

Chandler said the entire broadcast will be a compilation of new features, holiday greetings and a fireside chat with Santa. She said the honorary grand marshal is going to be a surprise, but it is an El Cajon resident who is currently across national media and has never been able to participate in the parade before.

ABC 10’s digital producer Mario Sevilla is the lead digital producer. Chandler said he is working with the ABC10 News team and has use of the studio.

“His production department is working under his direction. Its creative department is helping with some of the elements. ABC 10 is excited. It is hard to find holiday events with so many being cancelled,” she said.

Chandler said the parade is fortunate to have Santa spending so much of his time this year to help make this even a fun family event.

“We are partnering with a fun family activity, The Worldwide Santa’s Christmas Eve Jingle, so Santa will talk about it and invite families to go out on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m., no matter where you live and you ring a bell for two minutes,” she said.

“The bells provide Santa with all of the spirit and energy he needs to make his present deliveries.”

Chandlers said viewers can expect things to be a little bit different this year, but that people from anywhere can access the parade on ABC 10, YouTube, Facebook Live and the Mother Goose Parade site where people can find the link and watch the parade.

The parade will air on all media platforms on Nov. 22 at 1 p.m.

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