SAN DIEGO — Organizers call it the largest balloon parade in the country and Tuesday at 10 a.m., the Holiday Bowl Parade hits the streets of downtown San Diego.
It’s been two years since the last parade but News 8 got a sneak peek of what to expect. The marching bands will be back along with the signature balloons.
"We had to cancel it last year because of the pandemic, and so we're starting back this year," said Marvin Heinze, Holiday Bowl Parade chairman.
All of Tuesday will be a day of firsts.
"It's the first year we'll have a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference here, playing the PAC 12 team, NC State vs. UCLA.," said Heinze. And it's also the first year we're using a new parade route, and the first time we're going to be playing a football game in Petco Park - first time ever - and it's going to be the SDCCU Holiday Bowl."
In December 2019, tens of thousands of people lined the streets of North Harbor Drive to take in the parade and this year, parade organizers said they expected something similar in size with no COVID-related restrictions.
“The San Diego Police Department has projected a normal size crowd, about 100,000 people and so it's going to be up to people to use their own precautions to keep themselves safe," Heinze said. “There's no special regulations, it's all open air, outside, and so a lot of airflow, so it's a good environment for having a good holiday activity.”
And though there’s a storm in the forecast, Heinze said nothing can rain on this parade.
“Weather has never canceled this parade and we're hoping it doesn't," he said. "If it's really high winds we sometimes have to bring the balloons down, a little lower, not quite so much helium, but we've done the parade in light rain, which is what we're expecting tomorrow, so we think it's going to be a great day for a parade."
Streetside viewing of the parade is free and there are $25 grandstand seats available. Tickets to the game are still available at holidaybowl.com. Organizers suggest using public transportation or ride-sharing because on a Tuesday, parking meters aren't free and parking lots are expensive.
WATCH RELATED THROWBACK: San Diego's Holiday Bowl in 1986 and 1991