Holiday Bowl Parade
Musicians from the U.S. Marine Corps band at the 2015 Holiday Bowl Parade. Photo by Chris Stone

After a hiatus in 2020 because of the pandemic, the Hollywood Christmas Parade returns Sunday, moving through the streets of Tinseltown for its 89th edition.

Sheryl Underwood, a host on the daytime show “The Talk,” will serve as grand marshal of the 6 p.m. parade, which begins at Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Street.

The 3.2-mile, U-shaped route will travel east on Hollywood Boulevard to Vine Street, turn south on Vine to Sunset Boulevard, then head west along Sunset back to Orange.

The parade, featuring an estimated 5,000 participants, kicks off at 6 p.m. Sunday, and will conclude with an appearance by Santa Claus along with his reindeer.

In all, 61 celebrities and VIPS are scheduled to take part, including musicians Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. of The Fifth Dimension, and actors Danny Trejo, Tom Arnold and Lou Ferrigno, as well as Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow from early TV’s “Leave It to Beaver.”

The parade also will feature 11 character balloons – some four stories high – plus equestrian acts and marching bands, including the U.S. Marine Corps Band out of San Diego; the Mira Costa High School Marching Band and Color Guard from Manhattan Beach; the PAVA World Traditional Korean Band from Los Angeles; the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, and the Los Angeles Catholic Schools Band from Torrance.

In addition, spectators will see 49 movie and TV cars, including “Back to the Future” DeLoreans, the “Ghostbusters” Ecto-1 and “Smokey and the Bandit” Trans-Am; and from TV, the “Munsters” coach, the “Rockford Files” Firebird and the “Magnum, P.I.” Ferrari.

Erik Estrada, Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain, Montel Williams and Elizabeth Stanton return as hosts.

The parade has been held every year for nearly a century, except from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II, and last year, when it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Officials last week urged spectators to enjoy this year’s return, but to remember to take precautions, as COVID has not gone away.

L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, whose 13th District includes Hollywood, said at a news conference last week that the L.A. County Health Department is recommending people wear masks, even outdoors, in crowds larger than 10,000.

“There’s going to be more than 10,000 people watching this parade in- person,” O’Farrell said. “So let’s take those precautions.”

Despite last week’s tragedy in Wisconsin at the Waukesha Christmas Parade – a man drove into the crowd, killing six and injuring more than 60 – the Los Angeles Police Department has made no official comment about beefed-up security.

But Chief Brian Hale of the L.A. Department of Transportation said the LADOT will deploy over 100 traffic officers and supervisors to support street closures in the parade area.

The Hollywood Christmas Parade was first held in 1928, when it was called the “Santa Claus Lane Parade.” Comedian Joe E. Brown served as the first grand marshal in 1932, a role later filled by luminaries such as Bob Hope, Gene Autry and Jimmy Stewart, among others.

The festivities will be broadcast as a two-hour special on The CW Network on Dec. 17 at 8 p.m.

– City News Service