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What you need to know about the Hollywood Christmas Parade

By in Press Enterprise on November 21, 2017

By Sandra Barrera

Scores of people are expected to line the curbs on Sunday, Nov. 26 to cheer on the 86th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Touted as “the largest Christmas event in America,” the procession is set to kick off at 6 p.m. with Dr. Oz as this year’s grand marshal. The parade will air at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15 on The CW Network, repeating on the Hallmark Channel at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22. Expect all the bells and whistles from this time-honored Tinseltown tradition.

Larger-than-life helium-filled characters will bob through the street alongside marching bands, equestrian teams, ornate floats and celebrities in cars.

“It’s a total tradition for my family,” says Erik Estrada, star of the late-’70s series “CHiPs” and one of the parade’s hosts. “To get on the street and start announcing, ‘Here comes Santa!’ Can you imagine that? He’s the man of the hour. I dig it.”

Estrada returns for his 9th year as host, alongside Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain and Montel Williams as well as special co-hosts Elizabeth Stanton and Garrett Clayton.

But his history with the parade goes way back.

In 1978, he rode on a float alongside his “CHiPs” co-star Larry Wilcox, who portrayed California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer Jon Baker. Estrada played Officer Frank Poncherello.

Ponch was supposed to be an Italian-American cop.

But Estrada, born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, asked if his character could instead be a Latino.

“Back in the ’70s, I played the stereotypical Latino with the knife or the gun,” he says. “I’ve done them all. So this was a good icebreaker because after me, you got Jimmy Smits playing a lawyer, and Eddie Olmos playing a lieutenant.”

Estrada, who more recently did a cameo in the “CHiPs” reboot, says hosting the parade “makes me feel like I’m a […]    

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