Christmas starts this weekend in Manhattan Beach.

The city will light the pier by Friday to usher in the holiday season, then, there’s a Holiday Kick-Off Weekend, Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15, hosted by the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professionals Association, in lieu of the typical, one-night Holiday Open House. 

Usually, thousands of spectators whoosh into the city's downtown to see Santa "flip the Christmas light switch" before the open house, but this time, everything is wrapped into one physically distanced weekend. People can still go to the downtown area this weekend, but there is no pier lighting event to discourage gathering.

As many as 20,000 people would stand shoulder to shoulder to see the pier illuminate, and handfuls would stroll the lit sidewalks to view decked out windows and displays. Some have even traveled from as far as the San Fernando Valley in past years to ring in Christmas with Manhattan Beach. 

Both days of the kick-off weekend, from 10 am to 6 p.m., restaurants and retail businesses downtown will show off holiday-decorated windows and outdoor dining decks in a contest, and Santa Claus will drive through downtown with Christmas greetings from noon to 2 p.m. Holiday music will sound through the streets.

Santa will be in the city’s new “Joy Ride” golf cart from E3 Vehicles in Hermosa Beach, which downtown businesses can also reserve throughout the holidays to provide free local delivery to customers. 

There will also be a penguin scavenger hunt throughout the area for prizes.

On Sunday, there will be a decorated golf cart parade throughout the downtown area, for which participants can win a gift card to Pages Bookstore for “most creative,” a gift card to Simmzy’s restaurant for “most festive,” or a gift card to Trilogy spa for “most local love for Manhattan Beach.”

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