Learning about this year’s ceremonial leaders of the Montrose-Glendale Christmas Parade.
By Mary O’KEEFE
Community volunteers have been working for months preparing for the 42nd Annual Montrose-Glendale Christmas Parade.
The parade is in the tradition of a small town celebration with over 600 Boy Scouts, Girl Scout troops, schools, local organizations and local marching bands traveling down Honolulu Avenue on the first Saturday of December.
Each year over 100 volunteers work to produce the hometown event that highlights the best of the community. This year the grand marshals are Mike and Pete Smith of Bob Smith Toyota. It is especially exciting for the pair as the company is celebrating 101 years in business, which in and of itself is an amazing accomplishment. But that the business began as a family-owned and operated enterprise, and still is a family business, is even more of a milestone.
Bob Smith, Mike’s grandfather and Pete’s great-grandfather, began his business in 1917 just a few years after the great San Francisco Earthquake.
“It was interesting. The earthquake happened a few years before and horse and carriage was the mode of transportation then,” said Mike in an earlier interview with CVW. “My grandfather said if you want to get out of town quick you can’t do it on horse – you need a car.”
From that point on selling cars became the family business.
In its early years, the business was called Smith Anderson and had 12 little shops set up across San Francisco. In those days, it was Chevrolets the company sold. Throughout the years, and the various locations, dealerships included Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW, Fiat and Dodge Plymouth brands.
Twenty-five years ago, Bob Smith moved to La Crescenta and and became more than just another business along Foothill Boulevard; it became part of the community.
To be chosen as a grand marshal of the Montrose-Glendale Christmas Parade is recognition that a person or business has worked to make the community a better place – at that Bob Smith Toyota excels.
The Smiths donate the use of their vans for several local events, including the parade. They donate cars as prizes at fundraisers including golf tournaments in support of the CV Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. When people purchase a vehicle at their dealership, funds are donated to the non-profit of their choice. Bob Smith Toyota has a staff that is also supportive of the community, and feels more like a family than just workers.
It is because of this type of community support and spirit that Mike, Pete and the Smith family is being honored at the parade.
The Early Rodders, local classic car enthusiasts, will bring their own brand of honoring the Smiths at the parade by entering several classic Toyotas reflecting the ages.
The parade begins at 6:10 p.m. and travels east down Honolulu Avenue from Rosemont Avenue. Seats, usually lawn chairs, are set up along the parade route by families prior to the beginning of the parade.
The parade is financed by sponsors and individual donations. To make a donation or to learn more, visit montrosechristmasparade.com.