A 33 year tradition continues on Saturday as the community gathers to enjoy the annual Montrose Christmas Parade.
In Crescenta Valley the holiday season does not officially begin until Santa flies over Honolulu Avenue in a police helicopter. That is the official start of the Montrose Christmas Parade and the time that all CV residents let their holiday spirit shine.
On Dec. 5 the 33rd Annual Christmas Parade theme is to honor those who fought to protect the foothill community during the Station Fire.
“Our Grand Marshal is Smokey Bear,” said Steve Pierce, chair of the Montrose Christmas Parade committee.
The U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles County Fire, L.A. Country Sheriff and Glendale fire and police are part of the personnel being honored.
The parade begins at Rosemont Avenue and runs east down Honolulu Avenue. Montrose is already prepared with brilliant holiday lighting and shop windows full of red, green and gold gifts. Parade goers begin placing their lawn chairs and blankets along the parade route early in the morning.
“This year we have a lot more bands,” Pierce said.
Crescenta Valley High School band will be among those marching down the path.
“It’s fun. The [marching band] competitions are over and we get to play in front of an audience,” said Eddie Taylor, drummer in the marching band.
The parade is also a time for community organizations to smile and wave and march down the avenue. Organizations like Girl and Boy Scouts, local Mommy and Me groups and school clubs participate in the parade.
“This is the first year we have had our Prom Plus Club and the first year we will be in the parade,“ said Aimee Yeghiayan, president of the club.
She has walked the parade route before with Once Upon A Time bookstore and has attended the event several times, so she knows what to expect.
“I am excited though to be in it this time with the club. We will have a mechanical bull in our truck and we’ll decorate it. I think it will be a great promotion for our club, a great way to let people know who we are,” she added.
Prom Plus is an after prom event for CVHS that gives seniors and their dates a place to go after the dance. The mechanical bull is just one of the activities at Prom Plus.
The parade can trace its history back to local resident and actor Dennis Morgan,
“In the 1950s Dennis Morgan got some of his MGM friends together and created a daytime parade down Honolulu Avenue,” said Glendale Councilmember and long time Montrose resident John Drayman.
Morgan paid for the parade as a gift to the community. During those daytime parades grand marshals included stars like Jackie Cooper and Jack Carson, Drayman added.
When Morgan moved away from the area and the parade ended.
Then in 1976 local merchant Frank Roberts revived the parade but this time it was at night. Roberts who was a long time strong supporter of Montrose Shopping Park thought the parade would be a good way to highlight the local merchants. It was a good idea and now the parade has grown with more bands, more organizations and more people lining to watch it all pass by.
For those who cannot attend the parade, it can be seen live on Charter Communication channels 6 and 25 on Dec. 5 with rebroadcasts being held through January 9. It will be aired Monday through Thursday at 3 p.m., every Friday at 2 p.m. and every Saturday at 1 p.m.