FESTIVITIES – Hollywood Christmas Parade

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOjAHhuePwk[/youtube] In case you missed it, tonight was the safest night of the year to walk through Hollywood (feels like every cop in town is there) and the most annoying night of the year to try driving through it… the eve of the 3.5 mile long Hollywood Christmas Parade. Now officially known as the “Hollywood Santa Parade,” the event was originally known as the Santa Claus Lane Parade back in 1928 when the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce created it to promote local shopkeepers. According to legend, the inaugural parade featured only Santa Claus and the actress Jeanette Loff.* Although the parade has experienced its share of tough times, it grew dramatically over the years and for decades Santa was portrayed by honorary Mayor of Hollywood (the late Johnny Grant) up until he was too old for the duties.

I lived in Hollywood for much of my 20s and parade night became a tradition for my friends and neighbors… an opportunity to safely walk down streets we were never brave enough to explore on foot before, with bonus opportunities to toss stuff at David Hasselhoff (he always seems to attend) and marvel at classic celebrities riding the tail end of their golden years. While I’m not that interested in it most of the time, sometimes Los Angeles’ celebrity culture can be awfully entertaining.

This year’s Grand Marshal was Susan Lucci and the two-hour parade will be broadcast nationwide on MyNetworkTV on Dec. 10 at 8pm and on Christmas Eve at 10pm. Eric Estrada and Laura McKenzie will host the telecast, while child actors I’ve never heard of will report from the parade’s sidelines. Sounds like it probably would’ve been more fun to wander the streets. Maybe next year…

*Update: I had never heard of Jeanette Loff before, but google led me to some clips of her singing. The internet is so amazing.

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