HOLLYWOOD Crowds greet holiday season at Hollywood Christmas Parade –...

Crowds greet holiday season at Hollywood Christmas Parade – Daily News

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With the holiday season at hand, mild weather and big crowds greeted Santa and entourage and the rest of the entrants in the 91st anniversary edition of the Hollywood Christmas Parade on Sunday evening, Nov. 26.

Thousands of spectators lined the 3.2-mile, U-shaped route to watch nearly 100 celebrities and VIPS, more than a dozen performers, 10 bands, six four-story-high character balloons, three floats, nearly 40 movie cars and eight novelty vehicles — ending with an appearance from Santa Claus himself and his reindeer.

Santa’s always the most sought-after star for this march. After all, the parade, which debuted in 1928, was known as the “Santa Claus Lane Parade” for many years.

Movie funnyman Joe E. Brown was the first grand marshal in 1932 — a role later filled by such luminaries as Bob Hope, Gene Autry, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. The parade has been held every year since then, except from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II, and in 2020, when it was canceled because of the pandemic.

This year, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass was the top dignitary rolling down the route. And Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman, who represents Hollywood and its environs, welcomed all to come to the parade.

But the parade wouldn’t earn its Hollywood cred without a guest list of celebrities, including dancer-singer Paula Abdul, singer Dwight Yoakum, radio host Kerri Kasem, pop duo Aly & AJ and Saturday Night Live veteran Chris Kattan, comic Craig Robinson, plus actors Ernie Hudson, Brandon Routh, Ming-Na Wen, Denise Richards and Tatyana Ali.

The parade, which supports Marine Toys for Tots, launched at Orange Street and Hollywood Boulevard, before traveling east on Hollywood Boulevard to Vine Street, south on Vine Street to Sunset Boulevard and then west on Sunset, back to Orange.

Retired Col. Paris D. Davis, who received a Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War, waves to the crowd as the grand marshal of the 91st Hollywood Christmas Parade Supporting Marine Toys for Tots on Sunday, November, 26, 2023. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)
Retired Col. Paris D. Davis, who received a Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War, waves to the crowd as the grand marshal of the 91st Hollywood Christmas Parade Supporting Marine Toys for Tots on Sunday, November, 26, 2023.(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Retired U.S. Army Col. Paris D. Davis, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in March — nearly 60 years after being nominated for his heroism during the Vietnam War — served as the grand marshal.

“I am honored and very grateful to be chosen as Grand Marshal of the Hollywood Christmas Parade,” Davis said. “I am especially pleased that this wonderful annual tradition raises awareness of the important work that Marine Toys for Tots are doing to bring gifts and holiday cheer to those less fortunate.

“The parade also brings goodwill to people from all walks of life throughout the world. It’s a good reminder about what America stands for, who we are, and all that we can accomplish when we come together.”

The 84-year-old Davis, one of the first Black officers to serve in the Army’s elite Green Berets, was recognized “for his daring rescue of two severely injured soldiers during an intense battle in the Vietnam War” on June 18, 1965.

He was twice nominated for the nation’s highest award for military valor in action, but the paperwork was lost or misplaced both times — and he was awarded a Silver Star instead. His other honors include a Purple Heart, a Soldier’s Medal and a Bronze Star.

Pre-parade entertainment included the Village People, pop-opera singer Anna Azerli and The Grinch. Parade performers included the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and California Springs Rhythmic Gymnastics.

Local marching bands scheduled to perform included the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipe and Drums; the Oaxaca Philharmonic Band of Los Angeles; the Golden Valley High School Band of San Clarita; the PAVA World Traditional Korean Band of Los Angeles; the Compton High School Band; and the Los Angeles Catholic Schools Band of Torrance.

Sunday’s parade will be taped for broadcast on the CW Network at 8 p.m. on Dec. 15.

City News Service contributed to this report 

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