MONTROSE — While more than 100 entries made their way down Honolulu Avenue on Saturday evening, most families in attendance were waiting to see one particular participant.
"We want to see Santa fly over," said La Crescenta resident Andrea Cabalo who sat with her 6-year-old son Nicholas.
The Cabalo family joined thousands of people who lined Honolulu Avenue between Verdugo Road and Rosemont Avenue for the 34th annual Montrose Christmas Parade.
"It's an absolutely wonderful tradition — a great way to start the Christmas season," Cabalo said.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, Nicholas Cabalo and hundreds of other children got what they were waiting for when Santa Claus flew over the parade route in a helicopter — a highlight of the annual event.
Seven-year-old Brigitte Morgan, who came from Sherman Oaks for the parade, also said she was most excited to see Santa Claus up close and personal.
"Because I've always wanted my friend Olivia to believe in him," she said.
This year's parade featured 146 entries — including marching bands, equestrians and more than 700 local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
"It's just the best hometown fun feeling that you can have in the world, especially at Christmastime," said Steve Pierce, the parade's coordinator.
Featured parade participants included retired jockey and Grand Marshal Laffit Pincay Jr., longtime Los Angeles newscaster Stan Chambers and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Trevor Bell, a graduate of Crescenta Valley High School.
Pierce said Bell had been very enthusiastic about taking part in his hometown's parade.
Other entrants included members of the Glendale City Council, the Crescenta Valley Town Council and a variety of community organizations.
Major sponsors included the city of Glendale, Montrose Shopping Park Assn., Glendale Police and Fire departments, AARP Walgreens Health Tour and the Montrose Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce.
New this year was the Shadowland Foundation's entry featuring a dozen wolves, which the organization uses for educational programs.
Like many in attendance longtime Crescenta Valley resident Pam Lawler said the parade helps represent the small-town feel they love about their community.
"It's just so community-oriented," she said. "Everybody comes together in this wonderful family atmosphere.