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Parade goes Hollywood

Residents flock to the streets for event that celebrates the community itself.

April 29, 2009|By Zain Shauk

Thousands lined Olive Avenue on Saturday to cheer on TV stars, marching bands, the Batmobile and other paraders during a showcase that highlighted the city’s small-town charm and its ties to the entertainment capital of the world.

Burbank on Parade, an annual community celebration featuring floats, equestrian groups and public officials, began in 1945 and continued Saturday with the theme “Burbank on Parade Goes Hollywood.”

It opened with the John Burroughs High School Dance team wheeling a set of 9-foot-tall letters that resembled the Hollywood sign but spelled out “Burbank,” followed by a joint marching band performance from students at John Burroughs and Burbank high schools.

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Disney Channel star and teen heartthrob Jason Dolley served as the event’s grand marshal, and Charmian Carr, who starred in the 1965 hit musical “The Sound of Music” as Liesl Von Trapp, the eldest daughter of main character Captain Von Trapp, drew applause from older members of the crowd who remembered her as a starlet of their time.

Comedian Johnny Dark, a frequent visitor on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” also appeared in the parade, which featured a series of costumed characters, ranging from Ronald McDonald to Betty Boop to Darth Vader.

The passing stars and floats drew cheers from onlookers, many of whom walked to the parade route from their homes and sat in lawn chairs and on curbs next to neighbors and friends they hadn’t seen for at least a year.

“That’s probably the coolest thing,” resident Robert Jung said of the annual festival’s ability to bring residents together.

The event creates a sense of community pride through a shared celebration, he said.

“We’re sitting here, just chit-chatting and enjoying the morning,” he said of himself and his neighbors.

The parade’s distinct community feel also reflects the spirit of the city as a close-knit town tucked into the burgeoning Los Angeles region, said Rep. Adam Schiff, who lives in Burbank and waved to residents from a Batmobile as he rode through the route.

The scene was so intimate and relaxed that paraders were directly addressing onlookers, wishing some happy birthday, and telling others “have a great weekend” or “good morning.”

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