Hollywood Christmas Parade

Hollywood Christmas Parade
Photo: thehollywoodchristmasparade.org
The Christmas season in Los Angeles officially begins on the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day. Its beginning is marked with the Hollywood Christmas Parade, formerly known as the Hollywood Santa Parade or Santa Claus Lane Parade. Alongside Santa Claus, the parade features various celebrities.

The Hollywood Christmas Parade was initiated by local merchants. In 1928, they transformed a one-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard into “Santa Clause Lane” to boost sales during the holiday shopping season. The promotional campaign featured a daily parade called the Santa Claus Lane Parade. The inaugural event featured only Santa Claus and Jeanette Loff, a motion picture actress and singer. There were no floats, balloons or marching bands. However, the parade was a success, so it was decided to make it an annual event.

The parade grew in scale every year with the help of local businesses and the community. In 1931, Santa’s reindeer-pulled carriage was replaced with a truck-pulled float. The parade was suspended during the Second World War, but reopened in 1945 and has been growing ever since, adding floats, celebrities, and bands.

The Santa Claus Lane Parade was renamed to the Hollywood Christmas Parade in 1978. It was a marketing trick aimed to attract more celebrities as participants. This changed coincide with a shift in the event’s scheduling: the parade was moved from Thanksgiving Eve to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Besides, that same year the parade was broadcast locally for the first time.

The first attempt to broadcast the parade nationwide was taken in 2002. However, the hour-long primetime special on NBC failed to attract viewers. Rating were a flop, so the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to discontinue airing the parade. Moreover, in 2007 it desired to discontinue the parade itself due to financial losses and lack of celebrities.

Luckily, the City of Los Angeles came to rescue and created the Hollywood Santa Parade designed to replace the old Parade. Participation in the new parade was by invitation only. Television game show host Bob Barker was that year’s Grand Marshal. The 2007 parade was aired by KTLA on a tape-delayed basis.

Since then, the Hollywood Christmas Parade has been one of the most anticipated events in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The event is co-hosted by a bunch of celebrities and features famous performers, celebrity participants, giant balloons representing pop culture characters, colorful floats, marching bands, dance groups, equestrian units, and special groups. The parade follows a 3.5 mile route along Hollywood Boulevard, than back along Sunset Boulevard.

Hollywood Christmas Parade

Photo: DAV (Disabled American Veterans)




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