Thousands are expected to converge on Honolulu Avenue for the traditional holiday event.
By Jason KUROSU
The 37th annual Montrose Glendale Christmas Parade will once again come to dominate Honolulu Avenue, leaving every tree wrapped in lights and the sidewalks from Rosemont Avenue to Verdugo Road occupied by onlookers.
The parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Dec. 7. Those hoping to watch the parade are encouraged to arrive early to find an available spot on Honolulu sidewalks to stand, sit in lawn chairs or on blankets or whatever the case may be. Though the staging area is located at La Crescenta Avenue, the actual parade begins at Rosemont Avenue. Parking will not be available along Honolulu Avenue, but will be at city parking lots and surrounding streets.
There are 143 participants marching or riding in the parade, a collection of representatives from local schools, organizations and businesses, as well as appearances from local politicians, law enforcement officials and Santa Claus himself, among others. Rick Dinger and Jane Kane will be announcing the entries as they make their way down Honolulu Avenue. For those who are too far east to hear them, Leila and Vince Bell will be situated at the east end near Verdugo Road to let attendees know who are coming down the avenue.
Cheryl Davis will be coordinating the parade for the second consecutive year for the Christmas Parade Association, taking over for Steve Pierce. Davis said the parade would not deviate for the most part from the traditions of years past with only minor exceptions, including a second set of announcers for each parade entry and a relocating of the VIP area.
According to Davis, the famed lights, which adorn Honolulu Avenue during every holiday season, will be officially lit on White Friday, Montrose’s winter and local business-themed answer to Black Friday.
This year the grand marshal for the parade is the town of Montrose during its centennial year. Dignitaries will represent Montrose.
“These are long time residents who have made a significant [impact] on Montrose,” Davis said.
Those dignitaries include Wanda Berstrom who, for over 40 years, has been the waitress at the City Hall Café. Also recognized will be Ron Gelsinger, local business owner, community supporter and owner of Gelsinger Meats and Zeke’s Smokehouse; Vito Cannella, a longtime barber and former postmaster of Montrose who is known for being the force behind Flag Day; Joe Kroening, who was recently presented with the Don Carpenter Award from the CV Chamber of Commerce, is a community supporter and owner of Andy’s Transfer and Storage; Bill Dodson tended the Vietnam Veteran Memorial for decades; and Paul Roberts, son of Frank Roberts who was known as Mr. Montrose.
“These are people who are important to the community,” Davis said.
The junior grand marshal this year is the Prom Plus Club from Crescenta Valley High School. The club is the youth support for the Prom Plus organization that is celebrating its 20th year. Prom Plus is an after-prom party for CVHS seniors and their guests.
Over 20 years ago a CVHS senior was murdered while she slept at an unsupervised after-prom party. Community members and parents then formed Prom Plus and soon offered it to local students. Throughout the years the Prom Plus event has grown. It has partnered with the YMCA of the Foothills and each year after prom, the Y houses a party that includes a rock climbing wall, zipline, mechanical bull and full casino, among other games, from midnight to 5 a.m. Funds are raised throughout the year, and volunteers supervise the event.
Four years ago two local high school students founded Prom Plus Club at the high school as a way to promote the event. Since its conception, Prom Plus Club has become a strong volunteer organization that supports several events including Relay for Life and Montrose Glendale Christmas Parade. They gather over 100 volunteers when needed to help serve their community. The club as a whole submits on average about 2000 community service hours a year.
“I think it is a huge honor for Prom Plus Club,” said Dylan Sylvester, PPC president. Sylvester, a junior at CVHS, is serving his second year as PPC president. Katie Davis is vice president and together they have promoted the community service tradition of the club.
“I think it is a (privilege) that the community trusts us enough to call on us to serve,” Sylvester said of all the events the club participates in. “I feel it is a huge honor for the club and for us [personally].”
This year the Christmas Parade Association is charging a fee for entries. Davis said the fees had to be implemented because there were not enough donations to support the parade. In the past, Davis said, there may have been some misunderstanding of how the parade is supported, which is through the Christmas Parade Association.
“We did just have USC Verdugo Hills Hospital come on board,” Davis said of supporters. To see a list of the other sponsors, look for the advertisement in CVW.
To become a sponsor for the parade, visit
www.montrosechristmasparade.com. The parade hotline is available too at (818) 528-6060. The Christmas Parade Association is no longer accepting any new entries for participation in the parade, but will gladly accept financial donations.