CORONA DEL MAR — The 33rd annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk drew thousands of people Sunday, including animal-rights activists, stilt-walkers and Santa Claus.
The walk began and 11 a.m. and stretched along East Coast Highway throughout the village.
Many business owners gave away free samples, including sandwich bites, cotton candy, naan bread and mimosas. Bands and choirs performed, including Pinch Me! near the beer and wine garden along Bayside Drive, and the Harbor View chorus in the Wells Fargo lot near Orchid Avenue.
The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement District had a booth in the vendor's section in the Bandera parking lot, where they asked people to use a red marker to make suggestions on improving life in Corona del Mar.
The suggestions included adding ashtrays and trash cans, selling beer and wine at the Big Corona concessions stand, adding a bike rack near Goldenrod Avenue by Starbucks and creating a dog park in the lot near Gallo's Italian Deli.
ZeroTrash organizers were on hand at the Corona del Mar Residents Assn. booth, trying to recruit volunteers so the monthly trash pickup program could be reinstated.
At I Heart Puppies, animal-rights protesters carried signs against puppy mills while Santa talked to kids and passersby. Police said that earlier in the day, a counter-protest took place.
A dancing mob
The crowd witnessed what may be the first-ever flash mob event in village history when a group of about 50 women, children and at least one man broke into dance along East Coast Highway.
Members of the flash mob gathered in the Wells Fargo parking lot around 3 p.m. and began moving to a choreographed, four-minute routine.
About 100 people were in the crowd watching the event unfold.
"It was fabulous," said resident Nancy Green.
Nancy Murphy of Corona del Mar began planning the flash mob about a month ago after years of watching children play guitar, sing and dance for their parents during the Christmas Walk.
"I had this vision of how funny it would be if the parents came out of the audience and performed for the kids," she said. "And ever since I saw my first flash mob on YouTube, it's been on my bucket list."