The annual Montrose Christmas Parade is expected to draw record crowds ready to cheer 125 entries.
By Charly SHELTON
n Montrose, Christmas means a giant tree in the Montrose Shopping Park, Santa Claus flying over in a helicopter and the annual Montrose Christmas Parade. Now in its 39th year, the Montrose Christmas parade is held along Honolulu Avenue the first Saturday in December. The 2015 parade will be held this Saturday, Dec 5 beginning at 6 p.m.
“At this point we’re already done with the lineup, and we have to figure out the spacing and the timing and all of that. It’s a huge thing,” said Cheryl Davis, parade coordinator of Montrose Christmas Parade Association.
For this year’s parade, the grand marshal is Rob Hayes, ABC7 reporter. Hayes follows a long line of notable grand marshals that include Mickey Rooney, Jackie Cooper, Donald Duck and MGM star and local legend Dennis Morgan, one of the founders of the original parade back in the 1950s.
For those unable to make it to the parade on Saturday, or for anyone who doesn’t want to brave the expected 50-degree temperatures, the parade will be recorded and broadcast on GTV6 local access station.
“GTV6 is going to be there recording and they are working on the logistics of trying to have a live broadcast and stream live, but it’s really difficult. We were very fortunate last year [to have the parade streaming],” said Davis. “They’re obviously looking into it, but at this point we just don’t know. They’re definitely going to videotape it and edit it and get it on GTV6 as quickly as possible, which will definitely be about a week later.”
With 125 entries, this parade is going to be a truly big show. This event is a staple for many groups throughout the Crescenta Valley. Boy Scout troops, Girl Scout troops, high school bands, athletic clubs and even the CV Weekly will take part in the Christmas parade. (Guests are invited to stop by the Honolulu Avenue-facing window of the offices of the Crescenta Valley Weekly for a free cup of cider or coffee and a treat. The CV Weekly is located at the northeast corner of Honolulu and La Crescenta.) VIPs include local, state and national politicians, the grand marshal and other prominent members of the community will be driven down the parade route in convertibles and classic cars courtesy of the Early Rodders organization. With so many entries, organizing the parade is a logistical challenge. The Montrose Christmas Parade Association is an independent group of volunteers from the community who undertake this. These volunteers are not affiliated with the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce nor the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., which many mistakenly think oversee the annual parade.
“Many people don’t realize that this is an effort by hundreds of community volunteers who [donate] all of their time to make this happen,” Davis said. “There’s people doing the lineup, and the Early Rodders members donate their time and their cars to do this. There are people that you don’t even see or think of. There are tons of ham radio operators who help us communicate from one end of the parade to the other. And without the hundreds of volunteers, this parade wouldn’t happen.”
The parade is partly funded by the City of Glendale and partly by sponsorships, but fundraising by the Montrose Christmas Parade Association helps to bridge the gap. Donations from the community go a long way to ensure that this event takes place every year.
“We can take donations and we would love donations to the Montrose Christmas Parade Association, P.O. Box 24, Montrose 91021,” Davis said. “The city of Glendale partially funds it, we get some donations but it’s tough. It’s really tough.”
For anyone interested in volunteering or donating to the parade, or for more information, visit.montrosechristmasparade.com.