Mario Lopez to Lead Hollywood Christmas Parade

Mario Lopez Tapes "Extra"

HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, Hollywood will begin celebrating the Christmas season tonight as the 88th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade moves through the streets of Tinseltown.

“Access Hollywood” host Mario Lopez will serve as grand marshal of the procession, which will begin at Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive. The parade will travel along a 3.2-mile route, heading east on Hollywood, south on Vine Street and west on Sunset Boulevard back to Orange.

The celebration will begin at 5 p.m., with pre-parade musical performances. Among those set to perform are Dionne Warwick, Rock of Ages, David Archuleta, Phil Vassar and Brandon Jenner.

Bret Michaels will also perform, and he will be presented with a Humanitarian of the Year award, with parade organizers citing his efforts to provide relief for residents in hurricane-ravaged areas of the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

The parade itself will step off at 6 p.m., with Erik Estrada, Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain, Montel Williams and Elizabeth Stanton serving as hosts of the event.

Among the celebrities expected to appear in the procession are Reno Wilson, Deidre Hall, Scott Baio, Willie Ames, Matthew Lillard, Lacey Evans, Lorenzo Lamas, Judi Evans, Burt Ward, Kate Linder and Daniel Goddard.

The parade will also feature an array of large character balloons, equestrian units and marching bands, including the Los Angeles Catholic Schools Band, Riverview High School Kiltie Band and Pendleton Heights Marching Arabians.

Of course, the parade will conclude with an appearance by Santa Claus.

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

Photo: Getty Images

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