SAN DIEGO – Thousands of lights turned on at SeaWorld Thursday for the first time this holiday season with the help of patients from Rady Children’s Hospital.
“When your child is sick and you’re in the hospital all the time and you have a place like Rady’s,” said Sheila Grantham, mother of a child patient. “It’s so comforting to know you have such wonderful surgeons and doctors there. Then to have these types of events to go to afterwards when everyone’s healed and healthy it’s just a great feeling.”
The children then spent the evening away from the hospital playing at SeaWorld’s “SnowWorld.” They were able to sled, throw snowballs and even build snowmen.
For the Bartletti family, it’s a stark contrast to where they were a year ago. After Thanksgiving, Jaydon was diagnosed with Clear Cell Sarcoma of the kidney.
“Especially during the holidays, you kind of feel like your spirits are down,” said Stacey Barletti, patient’s mother.
Events like the one at SeaWorld also give them an opportunity to get out of the hospital and just spend time with their families.
“It just makes us realize what really is important,” said Bartletti. “Because it’s family. It’s friends. It’s love. It’s all of the gifts and the charity that is really alive and well here in this community and we just feel so fortunate now to be a part of it.”
SeaWorld’s annual tree lighting celebration is the first of many holiday events getting underway in San Diego.
On Friday, the City of Santee will hold it’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony at Santee Trolley Square from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
On Saturday, tree lighting ceremonies will take place at the Westfield UTC shopping mall and at Fashion Valley. At UTC the event will run from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30pm at the center of the mall. American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez will be performing. The Fashion Valley lighting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The event will also include an appearance by Santa.
This Sunday the Mother Goose Parade will take place in El Cajon.
Also on Sunday, the annual Grinch Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at the Globe. During the event, the “Grinch” cast will perform.
The always popular “Skating By The Sea” will open at the Hotel Del Coronado on November 21.
The 33rd Annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade will be held on December 1, starting at roughly 5:05 p.m.
The unforgettable December Nights at Balboa Park will take place December 7-8.