The proud community of Granada Hills has long enjoyed the adage ”The Valley’s Most Neighborly Town”. One of the best examples of that illustrated statement is in the fact that throughout it’s nearly 90 years of existence there have been various hosted ”community parades” to help highlight and encourage civic pride and community accomplishment.
During the 1940’s ….the community of Granada Hills held an ”Orange Blossom Parade’‘ on the Chatsworth Street ”township” that was held in conjunction with the community Orange Blossom Festival. The Festival and Parade were held in spirit and in early days acknowledgement of community roots and history to the original Sunshine Ranch four thousand cultivated acres of ”orange trees” that later became the modern day suburban community of Granada Hills,
In 1973, Thelma Witt and the Granada Hills Girl Scouts organized the first ”Youth In Action Parade”, and in 1977 the Granada Hills Chamber Of Commerce assumed the responsibility of organizing the Youth in Action Parade under the chairmanship of Mr Tom Williams whose goal was to provide positive acclamation to youth accomplishments in local schools and civic organizations and by which the parade was held in the month October and continued to 1983.
In 1984 the Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce faced the challenge to continue to fund and underwrite the Youth in Action Parade by which there was a growing sentiment on the Chamber Board of Directors to perhaps end the tradition of a community parade.
In that same year….Granada Hills Chamber President, Mr. John Ciccarelli, made an inquiry to the Chamber Board of Director’s to see what could be done to ”save” the prospect of a hometown community parade .
A year earlier… Mrs. Rita Ciccarelli had offered the suggestion of decorating the large Canary Pine Tree located at the Chatsworth Street & Zelzah Triangle to become the Granada Hills ”community” Christmas Tree by which to fully decorate and light the over 65 foot ”LiveTree” akin to the tradition of our Nation’s Christmas Tree at the White House in Washington D.C. and the Christmas Tree in New York City at the Rockefeller Center.
It was that ideal that helped to spawn a suggestion and new plan by John Ciccarelli to then realign and create an annual ”Granada Hills Holiday Parade” and to be held in the month of December and connect the two ideas and ”new tradition” of a Holiday Christmas Tree and Holiday Parade into one large Community Celebration.
And so….in 1984 with the official parade route now reversed from that of the prior ”Youth in Action” Parade era …the formation area became Petit Park Recreation Center with the parade starting at Petit Ave now traveling westward approximately two miles on the Chatsworth Street residential and commercial corridor and then left briefly on Zelzah and disbanding at present day Granada Hills Charter High School with then the official evening lighting of the tallest Live Christmas Tree in Southern California at the Zelzah Veteran’s Triangle.
In the past 30 Years as the Founder of the Granada Hills Holiday Parade …local Granada Hills Businessman John Ciccarelli has officially chaired the Granada Hills Holiday Parade and whose dedicated resident and business parade committee members have served many of whom for five, ten, fifteen, twenty, and thirty years in helping to donate volunteer time and individual and collective support over several preceding months to the annual planning and organization of the Granada Hills Holiday Parade . The ”Holiday Parade” helps to ring in the holiday season and traditionally falls primarily on the first and sometimes second Sunday afternoon in December and is made possible with local 12th DistrictCouncil Office support and the generous donations of resident and commercial parade sponsors.
Throughout these past three decades…The Granada Hills Holiday Parade sponsored by the Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce has enjoyed the participation of over four thousand youth participants, car clubs, marching bands, civic floats, equestrian groups etc from Granada Hills and many communities in the San Fernando Valley with the same original parade “mission” to help highlight and showcase youth accomplishments and foster proud civic participation.
Since 1984 over 120,000 youth participants have participated in the annual Granada Hills Holiday Parade and whose annual public attendance is over 10,000 spectators making it the largest Holiday Parade Celebration in the San Fernando Valley!