The 84th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade – “The Magic of Christmas” – Featuring Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

The weather outside is frightful, but the parade is so delightful, I really never want to go, let it snow, let it snow let it snow. And did it ever, in the form of lots of celebrities, floats and even Santa Claus made his usual appearance. Los Angeles is not much on snow, but we always know how to put on a really great show.

The 2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade was back in all its glory! On Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Hollywood rolled out the largest Parade Red Carpet in the world to usher in the beginning of the holiday season with all the requisite glitz, glamour and spectacle. The parade features Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, which provides gifts to less fortunate children everywhere. The iconic magicians and Las Vegas headliners, Penn & Teller, served as this year’s Parade Grand Marshals. The Hollywood Christmas Parade, was presented by Associated Television International and The City of Los Angeles, made its way down the famed Hollywood Boulevard for it’s 3.2 mile trek along the parade route.

The whole extravaganza was being taped for a December 11th 7 PM West Coast air date on The CW Network for a 2-hour special. Long-time parade partner Hallmark Channel will air multiple runs beginning December 19, 2015 on their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. The parade will also air to more than one million American servicemen and women worldwide on American Forces Network.

I got to see some amazing top talent perform as part of the superstar -studded concert including: Clay Aiken, India.Arie, Band of Merrymakers featuring Mark McGrath, Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra and Sam Hollander, Daughtry, Diana Degarmo, Kat Graham, Candice Glover, Taylor Hicks, Alexander Jean featuring B.C. Jean and Mark Ballas; Sean Kingston, Heather Russell, Ruben Studdard, Ace Young, and Magicians Jonathan Pendragon and Michael Turco from the hit CW Television Series, Masters of Illusion.

The parade is hosted by Laura McKenzie, Erik Estrada, Dean Cain and Montel William. Elizabeth Stanton and Garrett Clayton will serve as parade Special Guest Hosts. The Hollywood Christmas Parade presented legendary boxing star Oscar De La Hoya with a Humanitarian Award for all his charitable work over the years; the award will be presented by Lt. General Pete Osman, President and CEO of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Actress Deidre Hall presented 50 synthetic Balsam Hill Christmas trees, along with Tom Harman, CEO of Balsam Hill to Lt. General Pete Osman. Deidre Hall also presented 400 ICU light backpacks from Radiant Enterprises to Lt. General Pete Osman, along with Radiant Backpacks CEO Nikodemus Bernard.

Attendance for this year’s Hollywood Christmas parade is expected to be in excess of one million people filling the streets of Hollywood, CA to watch 5,600 parade participants make their way around the parade route.

The 91 Celebrities & VIPS in the Parade are: Penn & Teller, Grand Marshals, Parade Co-Hosts: Laura McKenzie, Erik Estrada, Dean Cain and Montel Williams, Special Guest Hosts: Elizabeth Stanton and Garrett Clayton, Oscar De La Hoya, Boxing Legend who will receive a Humanitarian Award, Congressman Adam B. Schiff, 28th District, State of California, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, City of Los Angeles, 13th District, Councilmember David E. Ryu, City of Los Angeles, 4th District, Lt. General Pete Osman, President and CEO, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Santa Claus, The Man of the Season, with escorts, Marine Staff Sergeant Cathleen Barsallo and Sergeant Jazz Alston, Ron Galperin, Los Angeles City Controller, Archibald Mouse (Archibald Swiss Cheese Mountain) with author Sylvia Lieberman, Bella and the Bulldog’s Brec Bassinger, Nikodemus Bernard, CEO of Radiant Backpacks, Chuck E. Cheese, Helen Henny and Pasqaully, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with a car transporting actor Jack Scalia, spokesperson Matthew Pennington and his wife Marjorie Pennington, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Pete Gardner and Gabrielle Ruiz, Cri-Cri, beloved Mexican fictional character, a cricket created by the late Francisco Galilondo Soler, whose son Fracisco Sanz Polo Gabliondo, spokesperson, now oversees the franchise, Days Of Our Lives’ Deidre Hall, Galen Gering and Martha Madison, now celebrating the show’s 50th Anniversary season, Dance Moms’ JoJo Siwa, General Hospital’s Rick Hearst, Emme Rylan and Bradford Anderson, Adriana Fonseca, Actress from The Truce, Mujer bonita riding in the Mexico Tourism Board/ car, Grumpy Cat, Pop Culture Sensation and Spokescat for Friskies and Grumpy Cat’s Owner, Tabitha Bundesen, Gumby and Joe Clokey, the son of the late Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby, Gruppo Sbandieratori e Musici Faenza (Italian Flag-Throwers and Drums, Faenza, Italy) (Spokesperson is Ivan Samori), Hallmark Channel – Home & Family’s Mark Steines and Christina Ferrare, Thomas Harman, CEO of Balsam Hill, James Hong, Mr. Ping in DreamWorks Animation’s and 20th Century Fox’s feature film Kung Fu Panda 3, Po, Star of DreamWorks Animation’s and 20th Century Fox’s feature film Kung Fu Panda 3, Jane The Virgin’s Brett Dier and Yvonne Coll, Mamma Kington/Mamma Kingston Food Trucks, Knott’s Merry Farm with Santa Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy, Masters of Illusions’â Star Magicians: Jonathan Pendragon, Michael Turco, Michael Grandinetti, Titou and Naathan Phan, Tom LaBonge, riding on Sister Cities Bus, Marine Band San Diego’s Drum Major, Gunnery Sergeant Hugh Wurts, Natasha Martinez, Miss California USA 2015 and Melanie Mitchell, Miss Teen California USA rode on the Miss Hispanidad Float, KOST 103.5 FM’s Mark Wallengren, Nebuta Float and Taiko Drums spokesperson, Akari Yamamura, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide’s Devon Werkheiser,
Michelle Stafford, Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress, The Young and the Restless, Shadowhunters’ Katherine McNamara and Emeraude Toubia, Significant Mother’s Jay Ali, Emma Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Silverman, Josh Zuckerman and the show’s Executive Producer, Rich Keith, The Bold & The Beautiful’s Scott Clifton and Jacqueline Macinnes Wood, The Girls Next Door’s and Holly’s World, Holly Madison, The Peanuts Movies’ Hadley Belle Miller, the voice of Lucy, and Rebecca Bloom, the voice of Marcy, The Young & Restless’ Kate Linder, Tristan Rogers, Bryton James and Christel Khalil, Wits Academy’s Ryan Cargil, Kennedy Les Slocum and Tyler Perez, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, United Air Force Color Guard,
and Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming, Crown Media Networks, Hallmark Channel.

There were 15 Award Winning Bands From Around The Country and The World: Marine Band San Diego, Bloomfield High School North Cougar Band from Bloomington High School North (Bloomington, IN),
Bloomington High School Band (North, IN), Cedarburg High School Marching Band (Cedarburg, WI), Gadsden Elementary School District #32 Marching Band (San Luis, AZ), Gruppo Sbandieratori e Music Faenza (Italian Flag-Throwers and Drums, Faenza, Italy) (Spokesperson is Ivan Samori), Joyful Parade China Troupe (West Covina, CA and Beijing, China),Kaiser Catamount Pride Band and Color Guard from Kaiser High School (Fontana, CA), Korean American Youth Performing Artists (KAYPA) (Chino, CA), Los Angeles Catholic Schools Band (Torrance, CA),
Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums (Fullerton, CA), Mountain Fifes and Drums (Youth Music Program, Lake Arrowhead, CA), Pacific American Volunteer Association World Traditional Korean Marching Band (PAVA World, Los Angeles, CA), Porterville High School Panther Band (Porterville, CA), and Rancho Verde Crimson Regiment from Rancho Verde High School (Moreno Valley, CA).

There were 6 Equestrians Units: Charros de la Puente, Budweiser Clydesdales with Jon Taffer, Host and Co-Executive Producer of Bar Rescue, Knott’s Merry Farm with Santa Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, actress Hadley Belle Miller, the voice of Lucy, and Rebecca Bloom, the voice of Marcy in The Peanuts Movie, Majestic Acres, Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers and Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society.

There were 18 Giant Balloons: Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (wrangled by the Coalition to Mexico Tourism Board), Hanna-Barbera’s Tom & Jerry (wrangled by the Mexico Tourism Board), Toy Soldier (wrangled by Air Force Personnel), Pirate & Chest (wrangled by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press), Elf & Four Christmas Lollipops (wrangled by Hollywood Hotel), Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat (wrangled by Hollywood Central Park), Gumby (wrangled by Make-A-Wish Foundation), Three Christmas Ornaments (wrangled by Kiwanis), Strawberry Shortcake (wrangled by the Hollywood Arts Council), and Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby Doo (wrangled by The Brittney Foundation).

There were 54 Characters/Novelties: Archibald Mouse (Archibald Swiss Cheese Mountain) with author Sylvia Lieberman, Blazen Divaz (Coeur D’Alene, ID), California Highway Patrol, including 12 Harleys, 4 Horses and 1 Ampicar with Assistant Chief Marc Shaw, Chuck E. Cheese, Helen Henny and Pasqaully, along with 10 dancers, Club Car with Civil Air Patrol Commanders, Gumby with Clockey Family (Gumby will appear in the parade with Joe Clokey, the son of the late Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby), Covered California Health Net, 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Mandalorean Mercs, Star Wars Car (Obi-Shawn): The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work, Mexico Tourism Board, 14 people, Nate Truman’s Star Car Central including: Walking Dinosaur, Batmobile, Batmobile 66, Batmobile 69, Back To The Future Deloreon #1, Back To The Future Deloreon #1, Back to The Future Doc Brown Truck, Jurrasic Park Jeep, Pee Wee Herman Bike, Blues Brothers, Blues Brothers State Police Car 55, Starsky and Hutch – Green Hornet, Jams Bond DB5 Astin Martin, Magnum P.I., Italian Job Mini ½, Highway Patrol, A-Team, Tango and Cash, Shaguar, Prisoner Lotus 7, Mach 5, “Franchesca,” Teenage Mutant Ninjua Turtles Van, Scooby Doo Van, Herbie Classic Love Bug, Herbie Fully Loaded, Kitt Knight Rider, Kitt Super Performance Mode, Transformers Barricade, Transformers Bumblebee and Transformers Rumblebee. Nate Truman’s Star Car Central, which will be pursuing a Guinness Book of World Records for the most movie vehicles in one place, Sister Cities Bus with Tom LaBonge, United State Air Force Color Guard, and P51 Mustang and Four Mini Jets.

There were 5 Floats: Falun Dafa Float, the traditional Chinese self-cultivation practice from Azusa, CA, Miss Hispanidad Float representing the Miss Hispanidad International and Miss Hollywood International Beauty Pageants with Special Guests Natasha Martinez, Miss California USA 2015 and Melanie Mitchell, Miss Teen California USA. The theme of the float is Legion, featuring a legion of angels costumes exclusively designed for The 84th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade – “The Magic of Christmas” by fashion designer Silvio Nicholas Walters. The float is sponsored by CURACAO., Nebuta Float and Taiko Drums: The Nebuta Float made its debut in the parade this year, and is inspired by the popular Nebuta Festival of Aomori Prefecture, one of the largest and most famous festivals in all of Japan that dates back hundreds of years. The Nebuta Float was designed by Japanese Masters Artist, Hiroo Takenami, specifically to be showcased here in Los Angeles. Its colorful design is carefully hand-painted and constructed of traditional washi paper and outfitted with over 3,000 LED lights. This year’s float depicts the “Legends of Yoshitsune,” the story of the celebrated General of the Minamoto clan, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who by divine power safely travels across the ocean for battle. Primary Spokesperson will be Akari Yamamura. Other spokespersons will include: Jane Toyoshima, Toshio Yamamura and Yasuyo Makino, The Way To Happiness Float sponsored by The Way To Happiness Foundation with two time Daytime Emmy Award winning actress from The Young and the Restless, Michelle Stafford and Cri-Cri, beloved Mexican fictional character, a cricket created by the late Francisco Galilondo Soler, whose son Fracisco Sanz Polo Gabliondo now oversees the franchise, and of course Santa Claus Float with Marine Staff Sergeant Cathleen Barsallo and Sergeant Jazz Alston.

There were 6 Live Performances During the Parade: Singer Diana Cassidy performed “Salute”, The Pasadena Playhouse’s Lythgoe Family Productions presents Peter Pan and Tinker Bell: A Pirate Christmas, Panto at The Playhouse including: Sabrina Carpenter, Parvesh Cheena, Chrissie Fit, Corey Fogelmanis, Ricky Jaime, Chris Jarosz, Auggie Maturo, John O’Hurley, Nikki SooHoo, Mason Trueblood and Kevin Quinn, Singer Meghan Shanley performing “If I Could Have You”, and Magician Stars from The CW’s hit television show, Masters of Illusion: Michael Grandinetti, Titou and Naathan Phan.

There were 24 Parade Sponsors: Mexico Tourism Board/, Health Net with Covered California, Bucca di Beppo, Planet Hollywood, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Chuck E. Cheese and Friends, Friskies with their spoke scat the pop culture sensation Grumpy Cat, with Tabitha Bundesen, Grumpy Cat’s owner, Wells Fargo Stagecoach, Gumby, Nebuta Float with Taiko Drums, Kung Fu Panda 3, Knott’s Berry Farm Stagecoach, Equestrian Groups – Majestic Acres, Charros de la Puente, Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers, and the Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, California Highway Patrol, Goodyear Blimp, Budweiser Clydesdales and Hitch, Club Car, Archibald Mouse, Hollywood Hotel, Balsam Hill (supplied the beautiful concert stage trees), Harleys, horses and an Ampicar with Assistant Chief Marc Shaw and ICU light back pack by Radiant Enterprises.

The parades media partners are: The CW, KTLA Channel 5, Hallmark Channel, KOST 103.5 FM, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and Variety.

The parade started in 1928, and only ran for 1 mile, it was called back then “The Santa Claus Lane Parade”. The parade continued to grow in scale with the help of local businesses and the community. In 1931 Santa Claus rode a truck-pulled float instead of the reindeer-pulled carriage of previous years. American Legion Post 43 marched with a color guard, drum line and bugle corps. The Parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II, but reopened in 1945 with record attendance. In 1946 Gene Autry rode his horse in the parade and was inspired by the children yelling “Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus,” to write the song “Here Comes Santa Claus” along with Oakley Haldeman. Autry would become a perennial Grand Marshal of the parade. By 1978, the parade had been renamed the Hollywood Christmas Parade in order to attract more celebrities, and was broadcast locally on KTLA-TV with the help of Autry and Johnny Grant. In 2004, an attempt to present the parade as a primetime special on NBC proved disastrous. Executive produced by Bob Bain, the hour-long “Blockbuster Hollywood Christmas Spectacular” aired on December 1 on NBC, but ratings were a flop. The following year, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced it would discontinue airing the parade on KTLA and other Tribune Broadcasting stations due to rising production costs. In March 2007, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to end the parade’s run due to lack of celebrities and a loss of $100,000 for the 2006 production, which The Associated Press said cost about $1 million to mount. The City of Los Angeles created a new parade to replace the Hollywood Christmas Parade, entitled the Hollywood Santa Parade and produced on the weekend after Thanksgiving (the original parade had traditionally been held on the Wednesday evening before the holiday). Participation in the new parade became by invitation only, and Bob Barker, fresh from his farewell taping’s as host of The Price Is Right, was that year’s Parade Grand Marshall.

With all of its celebrities and accolades this parade will really put you in the mood for the holidays, people with their families, wrapped up like little presents, trying to keep warm. So grab your kids, brothers, sisters, Moms and Dads, snuggle up to each other and join in the festivities that only happen once a year in Hollywood, you will feel the after glow the next day when your back at work. It might not be minus 10 degrees, but you will feel a nip in the air by the time Santa comes around the corner, and best of all you it will jump start all of your holiday celebrations.

(*note – some portions of this post was taken off of events press release and Wikipedia website.)


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