Glendora's Christmas past collides with its present in the annual Hometown Christmas Parade featuring floats, hometown heroes, a storied and award-winning band and, of course, Santa.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, the annual Glendora Hometown Christmas Parade will start in Glendora's Downtown Village shopping district at promptly 9 a.m.
This year's theme, "An Old Fashioned Christmas," honors both the history of the parade and the City of Glendora as it commemorates its centennial celebration.
Beginning in the early 1950s, the annual Christmas Parade was originally put on by city officials of Glendora. In the 1960s, the Glendora Jaycees, or Junior Chamber of Commerce, took over and continued the parade until the late 1990s when the Jaycees disbanded.
During that time the parade was used as a marching band competition that began at the cross section of Glendora Avenue and Bennett and ended at Citrus College where trophies were handed out to all the bands.
In those years, celebrities such as Woody Strode, Channel 7 weather man Dallas Raines, radio personality Frazier Smith and former Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda all took the helm as Grand Marshals of the parade.
Today's parade features a different kind of celebrity as Grand Marshals, with Glendora's Citizen of the Year Sharon Lewis, Adult Hometown Hero Dorothy Fountain, and Youth Hometown Hero Cady Tescher as the parade's VIPs.
In the late 1990s, after the Jaycees disbanded, it looked as though the parade was "going to become part of Glendora's history," as Pat Janes, Christmas Parade Chair, said. But newly elected Mayor Sue Bower felt that the parade should continue on to become a "part of Glendora's future," Janes recalled.
Soon after that a committee of seven citizens, including Janes, who would be dubbed "the magnificent seven," took over the parade and continue it to this day.
Today the parade committee has grown from seven members to 16 and hundreds of volunteers from the Kiwanis, The Lions Club, The Rotary Club, public officials, public services and many more dedicated and passionate people who love the city, its citizens and the parade.
A Parade for the Kids
For the past 15 years the motto for the parade committee has been "all about kids." Said parade chairwoman Janes, "We wanted a parade that any child could be in if they wanted to be," adding that the most noteworthy part of the parade is "all the little kids marching."
For the community, the parade represents a chance to see their children participating in a lively event. Denise Bresee, curator of the Glendora Historical Museum said, "I would go to the parade to see my children and their friends…who would be in [it] with various organizations and groups in town. It is a wonderful example of the small town flavor that seems to exist here."
It is that same "small town" feeling that draws nearly 7,000 spectators to the parade route to cheer on their family, friends, hometown heroes and community members.
The Glendora High School Marching Tartans are a favorite among parade-goers. Said 40-year Glendora resident Roxana Maturo, "I love hearing the High School band playing 'Scotland the Brave'. All my kids went to Glendora High School and it just gives the feeling that we live in small town USA."
The Glendora High School Tartan Band will lead-off the parade followed by hundreds of beautiful Christmas-themed floats, local cheer and dance groups, animals, hometown heroes, public officials, lively music and an appearance by the man himself-- Santa.
The parade route begins at Glendora Avenue and Bennett and will continue south on Glendora Avenue to Foothill. The parade will then turn west on Foothill and proceed to Grand Avenue where the route turns north ending on Grand and Bennett at Sandburg Middle School.
For more information visit www.glendorachristmasparade.com