The Watts Christmas Parade returns Saturday, December 2, to usher in the holiday season with legendary Watts raised singing group “The Sylvers” serving as Grand Marshall, the procession starts at 12 noon in front of the Watts Labor Community Action Center (WLCAC) 10950 S. Central Ave., proceeds down Central and ends at Markham Middle School, 104th and Grandee. The Grandstand is setup in front of Grant AME Church on 104th and Central Avenue. Entering its 52nd year, the festive celebration has entertained thousands of viewers along its route and remains a venerable institution and cultural icon in the Watts/Willowbrook community.
The parade also pays homage to the legacy of its founder the late Edna Aliewine, a nationally renowned Watts Community Activist. Partly motivated by memories of her visits to the Hollywood Christmas Parade as a child and asking her father “why isn’t there anybody like me in the parade?”, she and a handful of volunteers raised a barebones budget and created the Watts Christmas Parade in 1964. Aliewine is also the co-creator of the Watts Walk of Fame and was devoted to “creating focal points of civic pride” in the community.
Hosted by the Edna Aliewine Foundation under the leadership of the founder’s daughter, Paula Aliewine, the event has called on home grown talent to participate as Parade Marshalls. “This year we are featuring entertainers that have lived in the community of Watts and they don’t mind returning to give back and support our event,” she said. In addition to The Sylvers, our Celebrity Marshall is singer Cherrelle and Evangelist Ethel Bolden will serve as Gospel Marshal.
Another homegrown talent, singer Brenda Holloway is also on board.” 43rd District Congresswoman Maxine Waters and State Senator Steven Bradford will be among the participating dignitaries.
In addition to the procession and staged entertainment the “Edna Aliewine Awards” will be presented at a pre-parade VIP Breakfast. “We will salute three Unsung Sheroes, that have done outstanding work in the Watts community, making a difference in the community, just as our founder did,” Paula Aliewine explained. The honorees are Shamika Ossey, Emergency Preparedness Public Health Nurse/Community Liaison Public Health Nurse focusing on building community resilience through education and outreach, Gospel Singer Ethel Bolden, and Journalist Florence Scott one of the founding members of the Watts Willowbrook Christmas Parade.
The 52nd Annual Watts Christmas Parade, features a variety of participants ranging from Miss Compton Pageant winners to high school bands including Jordan HS and Centennial HS. From drill teams, ROTC and drum lines, to car clubs, motorcycle clubs, and the Presentation Learning Center Folkloric dancers, to celebrities, health-education-welfare agencies. and public dignitaries. Main Sponsors of the parade include SEIU local 99, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, LAPD, Councilman Joe Buscaino 15th District, Tim Watkins- WLCAC, and Robertson’s Concrete. For more Information call (323) 563-3629.