SAN DIEGO — The largest balloon parade in the United States is scheduled to step off at the Embarcadero Tuesday morning, prompting County officials Tuesday to offer some viewing tips.
It’s officially known as the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl parade, which will also feature the marching bands from Washington State University and the University of Minnesota — the two schools that will be competing in the football game later in the afternoon.
The County’s Waterfront Park downtown adjacent to the County Administration Center is a prime vantage point, located at 1600 Pacific Highway, and officials urged viewers to arrive well before the 10 a.m. parade start time.
The balloons, marching bands and more will head south along Harbor Drive on the park’s bay side and finish at the corner of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway near Seaport Village. The Port of San Diego expects more than 100,000 visitors to line the parade route so parking will be at a premium.
Parade goers planning to make Waterfront Park their viewing spot were urged to take the Trolley to the County Center/Little Italy trolley stop, located one block east of the park.
Segments of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway will be closed beginning at 7:45 a.m., officials said.
The grandstand and television coverage area will limit parade viewing on the park’s southwest corner.
Alcohol, smoking, e-cigarettes, glass and barbecuing are not allowed in the parade area. Picnics, lawn chairs, blankets and canopies are allowed.
Trolley Service Increased
The Metropolitan Transit System says trolley service will be increased Tuesday in anticipation of large crowds at the Holiday Bowl Parade downtown and the Holiday Bowl game at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley.
The frequency of Green Line Trolley service will be increased to every seven minutes between Qualcomm Stadium and downtown from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., according to MTS officials. After the parade, additional service will continue to operate until crowds diminish.
The nearest Trolley stations to the parade route include County Center/Little Italy, Santa Fe Depot and Seaport Village. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but spectators are urged by MTS officials to arrive an hour early to get a good vantage point.
The National Funding Holiday Bowl kickoff is at 4 p.m. and MTS will increase the number of Green Line trains that provide direct service to Qualcomm Stadium beginning at 11:45 a.m., running trains every seven minutes. After the game, Green Line service will operate at a high frequency in both directions until crowds subside.
To speed up boarding and avoid ticket vending machine lines, passengers can purchase and store their Trolley tickets on their smart phones for both the parade and the game by using the MTS mobile ticketing app mTicket.
As a bonus, mTicket holders can avoid boarding lines after the game by having exclusive access to an express line on the west side of the ramp that bypasses the general line.
In addition to one-way paper tickets and day passes on Compass Cards, MTS has printed a limited quantity of commemorative Trolley passes for both the parade and the game. The $6 commemorative day passes are sold at select ticket booths along the Green Line.