By Mary O’KEEFE
Another successful Montrose Christmas Parade has gone into the record books. After 34 years, the parade continued to keep its hometown charm.
“There were 3,510 people in the parade. Of that 1,748 were kids,” said Steve Pierce, parade chairman.
That total included 961 band performers, 84 animals and 114 vehicles.
“We also had a volunteer base of about 150 volunteers,” Pierce added.
The parade began with a fly over by Santa in a helicopter, then the Crescenta Valley High School JROTC marched down Honolulu Avenue with the CVHS award winning band behind them.
People began placing their lawn chairs along the parade route on Honolulu early Saturday morning in anticipation for the parade that began at “6-ish.”
There were a few gaps between participants, but fewer than previous years and the bottom line was still – the community had a good time.
Grand marshal, jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr smiled and waved at parade watchers and special guests Stan Chambers and Trevor Bell brought smiles and cheers.
For Bell it was a trip back home to adoring and cheering crowds. Before becoming the Angels’ pitcher, Bell played for his home school’s baseball team, the Falcons.
Chambers, a long time reporter with KTLA, is a living legend.
“I remember Stan Chambers reporting on the Kathy Fiscus story,” Pierce recalled.
In 1949, 3-year-old Kathy Fiscus was playing in a field in San Marino when she fell into an abandoned water well pipe. KTLA was there with Chambers at the microphone reporting live.
Chambers retired this year and Pierce said he thought it was appropriate to honor and thank him for his long time commitment to the Los Angeles area and to journalism.
Chambers was gracious in accepting the honor.
“It is so nice to be here,” he said.
He brought his family to join in the parade.
“We are so proud of him,” said daughter Elizabeth Martinez. “It has been an honor to have such a good man be our father. We used to watch him on the news and when it was time to go to sleep we would kiss the T.V. and say goodnight.”
Some of Chambers co-workers joined in honoring him and took to the parade route.
Michaela Pereira said she knew the Montrose area well.
“I am a knitter. I came up here to the [Needle in a Haystack],” she said.
Pereira praised not only Chamber’s talent but also his kindness. She added that his presence brings a calm to the newsroom.
“It has been an honor to work with a legion,” said Frank Buckley. “And he is the nicest man in television. I was working as a reporter on my first story in Los Angeles and Stan was there. He came up to me and introduced himself and said ‘that’s the guy you want to meet’.”
Chambers had pointed the young reporter to a valuable source. Buckley said that was typical Chamber’s generosity.
Buckley’s ten-year-old son, Sebastian, joined his dad in the parade.
“I am very excited about the parade. I am going to have fun,” Sebastian said.
And he did along with thousands of parade watchers and parade participants.