Meet Your Parade Marshals

Our 43rd annual Holiday Parade is around the corner! This cherished holiday tradition brings together thousands from around the county in the most celebrated and attended parade on the Central Coast. This year’s theme, “A Very Vintage Holiday”, is sure to bring out the best floats, costumes, cars, and more. Please join us on Friday, December 7 beginning at 7 PM! As always, the parade route starts at Chorro and Palm and will end at Higuera and Nipomo. Nearly one hundred parade participants will float through the streets of Downtown San Luis Obispo, and it will not disappoint. Last year the event featured unicycling jugglers, the surfing goats from Pismo Beach, our Mayor on roller skates, gymnasts tumbling in the streets, and a bevy of local organizations, schools, marching bands, and more. Ten announcers stationed along the route keep everyone entertained and informed, and the parade closes out with the appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Bring your blankets and come early to get a spot! The Holiday Parade is a great way to usher in the season, and folks of all ages will certainly be delighted.

Parade Marshals Stephen Patrick and Todd LeMay of Stephen Patrick Design and The Bladerunner Salon and Day Spa will open the ceremonies this year and appear on one of the first floats. Being Parade Marshals is an incredible honor in our community: past Parade Marshals include Central Coast icon Phyllis Madonna, of the famous Madonna Inn, and Bob Douglass, who owned San Luis Luggage for over 40 years. (Coincidentally, Downtown SLO’s new office is now in the old San Luis Luggage space, as we moved in after Bob retired last year.) The Parade Marshals serve as the icons of the event: they open the parade and serve as a liaison between participating organizations and the public. It’s a big (and fun!) responsibility, and also a wonderful demonstration honoring one’s leadership in the community. This privilege isn’t lost on Stephen and Todd. Says Todd: “It’s an honor to see people on the list from the past and be thought about in that same light.”

Stephen Patrick and Todd LeMay fit the bill: they have been business owners, local leaders, and committee members of Downtown SLO for decades. Todd opened the Bladerunner salon in 1986 and has had three different locations Downtown over the last thirty years. What began as a 2-chair salon now employs 31 people in nearly 4,000 square feet of space. Likewise, Stephen Patrick Design opened in 1994; the portfolio of work boasts an impressive array of commercial and residential design as well as events that the team has accumulated in the last 24 years. Both businesses are local institutions. Todd and Stephen also have a deep history of community engagement and philanthropy: their foundation, Share The Love, manages the Women’s Shelter Fashion Show at the Madonna Inn. Having been involved in the fashion show for twelve years, Todd and Stephen now operate the program. The show is in its 32nd year of operation, boasts 4,000 attendees, and contributes half a million dollars annually to local charities including Stand Strong, Jack’s Helping Hand, and the Woods Humane Society. Stephen Patrick has also served with our organization, currently serving as Chair of the Cultural Arts Committee and having been Board President in the past. Says Todd, “Every morning I wake up and am very proud of him.”

On a fun note, they also have a stellar history of participating in the Holiday Parade with their businesses and have had some epic floats themselves: both Todd and Stephen share their memory of the Rock and Roll float from a few years ago, featuring Lady Gaga and Madonna costumes. And their dream celebrity parade attendee? None other than Betty White. While we can’t guarantee an appearance from the lovely Betty White (but one can dream), you can see Stephen Patrick, Todd LeMay, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Downtown Brown, and all your local celebrities, neighbors, friends and more at our 43rd annual Holiday Parade on December 7. Happy Holidays!