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General Press Releases

Giant Balloons, Trojan and Hawkeye Marching Bands, and Much More to Entertain in 2019 Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by Hilton, also known as “America’s Largest Balloon Parade,” will take place on Thursday, December 26, 2019 on Harbor Drive along beautiful San Diego Bay. 

The festivities begin at 2:45 p.m. with the National Funding 5K at the Holiday Bowl Parade. The run/walk starts at the corner of Harbor Drive and Ash Street and ends at Ruocco Park, just past the G Street Mole and the Port’s commercial fishing basin. 

The parade kicks off at 3 p.m. in front of the County Administration Building on Harbor Drive, proceeds south on Harbor Drive and ends where Harbor Drive meets Pacific Highway near The Headquarters and Seaport Village. The entire parade is about two hours from start to finish.

“The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade is a signature event that our residents and visitors look forward to every year and we are proud to be the title sponsor,” said Garry Bonelli, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “The parade and the Holiday Bowl game bring thousands of visitors to our region – filling up hotel rooms, visiting local attractions. They have a tremendous economic impact.”

With more than 30 giant balloons, including the Holiday Bowl Football, the San Diego County Credit Union Sailboat, the Gingerbread Man and the Madagascar Penguins, the parade has more balloons than any other parade in the United States. This year’s theme is “Sun, Sand and Sea!” and the Grand Marshal is Jim Lazlavic, a former NFL player and beloved retired sportscaster. Lazlavic played 10 seasons in the NFL, three of which were with the San Diego Chargers.

The University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band and the University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band, representing the Holiday Bowl football game opponents, will perform in the parade along with several high school bands from across the United States. The parade will also feature floats and a variety of specialty units. 

Parade viewing is free along the sidewalks of Harbor Drive. Grandstand seating is available in front of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Tickets can be purchased for $22 before the parade and $25 the day of, if available, at

Streets along the parade route will be closed to traffic beginning at 12:30 p.m. No vehicles will be allowed to enter or exit parking lots along Harbor Drive after 2:30 p.m. Street closures include:

  • Harbor Drive from Grape Street to Broadway
  • Harbor Drive from Broadway to Pacific Highway
  • Pacific Highway from Harbor Drive to Broadway
  • One southbound lane on Pacific Highway will be closed from Grape Street to Ash Street

Streets and parking lots will reopen after the parade, beginning at approximately 5 p.m.

This is the 28th year that the Port of San Diego has been the title sponsor of the Holiday Bowl Parade. A holiday tradition for many residents and visitors, it is the precursor event before the Holiday Bowl, which takes place the evening of December 27, 2019 at SDCCU Stadium. This year’s game is being played between the USC Trojans of the Pac-12 Conference and the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big 10 Conference.

Approximately 100,000 spectators are anticipated to view the parade. Parking along the parade route is extremely limited and traffic can be heavy in the area before and after the parade. The Port of San Diego encourages the use of public transportation. There are convenient trolley and bus stops adjacent to the parade route. Please visit the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System webpage at for routes and schedules.

The parade will be aired live on FOX Sports San Diego beginning at 3 p.m. on December 26. 

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.

About Port of San Diego Experiences

Port of San Diego Experiences welcomes businesses, residents and visitors from across the globe to enjoy and prosper from our dynamic waterfront.

As a treasured destination, the Port provides unique opportunities to captivate visitors and ensure everyone is welcomed, connected and inspired by our beautiful waterfront.