Pacoima Historical Society Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Holiday Parade
Pictured (left to right) Crystal Jackson, Patty Takayama, Ted Garcia, Francis Johnson, Patsy Juardo Negrete
Parade participants reached an all time high with 175 entries in this 50th year of this community’s parade. Actor Danny Trejo and Producer Leslie Small were a few of Hollywood successes that graced the parade along with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Sal Rodriguez (War), Rudy Salas (Tierra), Gil Rocha (Ritchie Valens) Jesse & Tyler Posie (Teen Wolf) as well as multiple community activists and longtime residents.
Put on by the Pacoima Chamber of Commerce, the Pacoima annual Christmas parade has been a popular event since its inception. Early parades, spearheaded by Pacoima’s honorary mayor Marie Harris, included kings and queens from both the high school and senior citizen center and the tradition of marching bands, cheerleaders and churches still prevails after 50 years. The family of legendary Ritchie Valens was in attendance as thousands of spectators enjoyed the festivities. But Pacoima would be remiss not to have the low rider car clubs and motorcycle clubs in the lineup along with the legendary Equestrian entry’s that date back to the Buffalo Soldier times.
In the 1960’s, the parade began at Trans World Bank on Van Nuys Blvd with a reception and VIP opening and ended near Glenoaks Blvd where they presented the winning entries with trophies and such. Today it begins at Pacoima City Hall with a ribbon cutting ceremony and ends at Herrick Ave. The VIP reception was held this year at Vaughn Performing Arts G3 Theater and the community festival took place the week earlier at David Gonzales Park. Chaos preceded the 2017 parade with a rash of wild fires that forced mandatory evacuations for many parade participants and a rescheduling of the original date to the following week.
As times have changed, the Pacoima Christmas parade lives on as a tradition and staple in the Pacoima history books.