PERHAPS THERE IS A HIDDEN CAROL... somewhere that talks about "giant inflatable balloon-type artworks that float high above parades," because giant inflatable balloon-type artworks that float high above parades have come to be an end-of-the-year tradition. We don't use that word lightly, but we are a bit befuddled; twinkly lights and fireplaces and snow are all end-of-the-year traditions, too, in many places, and we sing about them in our holiday songs. But humongous, funny-faced dogs being held up by sticks and strings, high above a boulevard? Yeah, we missed that carol. Thank goodness, though, that inflatables have become a seasonal sight, because we'd miss 'em. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is one popular place to find favorite cartoon characters made large -- very, very large -- and here in California? The Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade delivers our out-sized whimsical Christmastime inflatable-watching needs. It's part of the Holiday Bowl, and it is ready to again take to the street on Monday, Dec. 30.
FLOATS AND DRILL TEAMS, TOO: There probably isn't a parade on the planet that's strictly about its inflatables, and this New Year's Eve Eve event is no exception. Floats and music and drill teams'll march with the big, air-filled creations, but bet there'll be plenty of those, too. Harbor Drive is the spot, morning is the time of day, and over two dozen mega floaty stretchy artworks -- there's Betty Boop! -- will push down Harbor. Oh, and is that the Star of India in the background? Yeah, you'll get some good photo ops. And here's one of the best bits about the day, which comes at the end of the spendingest season of the year: It's free. Fly on, San Diego inflatables! Well, not really, because then you'd drift away. Uh, parade on!