Highland Park Residents Enjoy Parade Despite Rain
By Nancy Martinez, EGP Staff Writer
Despite the rain, residents of Highland Park stood alongside Figueroa Street last weekend dressed in warm clothing and holding on to their umbrellas, determined to watch the 68th Annual Northeast Los Angeles Holiday Parade as it marched its way down the street through the rain.
Toy vendors, food carts and spectators took over the sidewalks of Figueroa Street from Avenue 60 to Avenue 50, as they excitedly watched and cheered as floats and performers that braved the weather to continue the long-standing holiday tradition.
Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Residentes de Highland Park Disfrutan Desfile en la Lluvia
This year’s parade theme was “People Helping People,” which Highland Park Chamber of Commerce member Margaret Arnold told EGP the Chamber, sponsors of the parade, selected because it expressed the community involvement in the area.
“[The theme] really showed what Highland Park is all about, it shows their attitude,” Arnold said. “If you look at the entries, a lot of them were community organizations that are really involved and help the community year-round.”
The parade had 61 entries sign up to participate in the parade, from local school marching bands and sports teams to horses and dogs, but according to Arnold, a few of the participants did not attend due to the weather conditions.
Celina Luna felt the rain might have been the reason for the decrease in attendance from years prior.
“It was exciting and fun, but the rain ruined it,” Luna said. “It was shorter this year and more schools could have participated.”
Arnold told EGP greater participation from groups in future parades is one of the things they intend to work on.
“In many ways we have it down by this point,” Arnold said. “But we always want to bring out more community groups.”
The parade included performances by local marching bands, dance teams and athletes. Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes also made an appearance in the parade, repeatedly shouting “Merry Christmas” to the crowd of onlookers.
Highland Park resident Grace Stone told EGP she felt the rain made the parade less enjoyable, but that did not stop her from sticking around.
“I didn’t get to see all the performances because of the rain but it was still good this year,” said Stone.
Spectators like Erica Berber did not mind the rain, but worried about the participants who had to perform in the poor weather conditions.
“I feel bad for the kids that had to walk in the rain,” Berber said.
Eddie Rivera, one of the parade’s organizers, pointed out that the rain towards the end of the parade made it more exciting for the crowd.
“Everyone seemed to have fun and they stayed despite the rain,” he said.
Arnold told EGP that the annual tradition, which began in the middle of WWII, continues to bring the community together.
“In the middle of a major crisis [the residents] felt they needed to show community spirit,” Arnold said. “We want to continue in that same tradition.”
View more photos from the Parade : Photos From The 68th Annual Northeast Holiday ParadePrint This Post
December 6, 2012 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.