2020 marks our 44th year hosting the Montrose Christmas Parade. Here is a little history of the event and the area.
The name “Montrose” refers to the “Mountain Rose”, a quiet residential community nestled in the foothills. Shops to serve the needs of the local residents developed and during the 1920’s the Montrose Chamber of Commerce was formed by the merchants.
During the 1930’s, the merchants along Honolulu Avenue from Verdugo Road to Las Palmas Avenue formed what was then a very unique concept – the Montrose Shopping Park Association. The perimeter of the Shopping Park extends north along Honolulu to the alley above, which marks the boundary of the City of Glendale/Unincorporated County area, and on the south to Broadview Avenue and all of the north/south streets within those perimeter boundaries.
The Montrose Christmas Parade began in the early 1950s when MGM musical star, Dennis Morgan, created an afternoon holiday parade which marched down Honolulu Ave. in broad daylight. With Grand Marshals such as Jackie Cooper, Jack Carson, and other movie star friends of Mr. Morgan’s, the parade was an instant hit with the public. This was Dennis Morgan’s gift to the community. In fact, Morgan’s birthday was December 20, just days before Christmas. Sadly, when Mr. Morgan moved away, the parade came to an end.
In the ensuing years, the Montrose Chamber of Commerce and the Montrose Shopping Park Association have continued to function as two separate organizations with individual boards of directors and different goals and purposes. Working in partnership on many projects for the benefit of the surrounding businesses and residences.
The Montrose Christmas Parade was revived in 1976 by Founder, Frank Roberts, a Montrose Shopping Park merchant, to attract shoppers at the start of the Christmas shopping season to the unique and eclectic collection of shops, businesses and restaurants along Honolulu Avenue. The new version of the parade caught the imagination of young and old alike, and the rest, as they say, is history!
We were all saddened by the loss of the Montrose Christmas Parade Founder, Frank Roberts, who passed away October 18, 2005. The 2005 parade was dedicated in memory of Frank and his passion, dedication and spirit of volunteerism.
Very much a family-focused parade, more than 150 community service and youth groups, drill teams and bands from the surrounding cities participate in the parade each year. We have the unique honor of a fly-by with Santa Claus in one of Glendale’s finest Police helicopters.
We also enjoy the participation of many units from the Glendale Police Department, Glendale Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, and the Montrose Search and Rescue Team. Thousands of spectators gather along the parade route to be a part of this annual Montrose tradition. Charter Cable provides broadcasts of the parade frequently during the holiday season. Over the years parade has become the highlight of the holiday season and is recognized as the official Christmas Parade for the City of Glendale.
It is because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers staffing and heading up committees and the generous support of local businesses, organizations and individuals that the Montrose Christmas Parade continues in its fine tradition. A salute to all of you!
The Montrose Christmas Parade organization is very grateful to the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, the Montrose Shopping Park Association and the City of Glendale for their long time and generous support of the Montrose Christmas Parade!