The theme of the 2009 Studio City Holiday Parade was “Stars Shine Bright,” and they certainly did. One of Studio City’s brightest stars, the ultra-eco-friendly actor Ed Begley Jr. happily served as this year’s Grand Marshall. The “keen on green” fellow not only talks the talk, he walks the walk—literally, opting to stroll the parade route with his stunning wife, actress Rachelle Carson, rather than ride in a big truck. They were greeted by cheers from their fans and neighbors in the crowd who respect their commitment to the environment.
The Begleys cozy Studio City home has been in the spotlight on their “Living With Ed” reality series, now in its third season on cable’s Planet Green channel, part of the Discovery Networks. The show has a lot of humor in it as well as great ideas on how to recycle and make your house more energy efficient, always a passionate subject for Ed.
For the parade Sunday night, it was chilly but not a drop of rain to spoil the festivities along Ventura Boulevard. That was fortunate, because for the first time I rode in the parade, waving and ringing my jingle-bells from The Tolucan Times car, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
Riding in a parade should be on everyone’s Bucket List—the things you want to do before you kick the bucket. It is a joyful experience, and one I was glad to share with my husband-writer Frank Barron, whose Grinch sweater was a source of amusement for many. Also along for the ride in the silver convertible, was Australian teen sensation Nathan Coenen, star of the Aussie series “The Sleepover Club.” Nathan just moved from Perth to Studio City, and loves the proximity to the studios where he’s been auditioning. Obviously a well-read young man with good taste, he mentioned that he enjoys all the entertainment stories and community news in The Tolucan Times.
It was interesting to hear Nathan explain that Christmas comes during Australia’s summertime because the seasons are reversed Down Under, “so it never really feels like the old fashion holiday that Dickens created with A Christmas Carol.” Waving to the youngsters along the parade route, Nathan beamed, “This so much fun, I can’t wait to tell my mates.”
Good cheer was everywhere, with the merry merchants offering goodies to shoppers. Josh Rubenstein, the cheerful meteorologist from CBS 2 and KCAL 9, was taking credit for the nice weather. Adding beauty to the night were the pretty girls from the Miss California Pageant, including the reigning Nicole Johnson, Miss California USA for 2010.
Seeing the happy faces of kids marching in the parade was part of the magic. Sharing their smiles were members of the Notre Dame High School Irish Knight Band, Walter Reed Middle School Jazz Band and California Cadet Corps, Campbell Hall Cheerleaders, Karate 4 Kids USA, Boy Scouts of America Troop 139 and Club Scout Pack 311. The Royal Regiment North Hollywood High School band and dance team were very entertaining. They have another holiday concert this Friday, Dec. 11, then on Saturday compete in the LAUSD Band & Drill Team Championships.
It had to make Alan Dymond, president of the Studio City Residents Association, very proud to have such a variety in the well-organized parade. Kudos to parade coordinator Ann Husvar, an army of dedicated volunteers and the LAPD Explorers, among others. Also participating were local dignitaries City Controller Wendy Greuel and Assembly member Mike Feuer. The Studio City Neighborhood Council was represented, along with the Studio City Farmer’s Market, the Optimists Club, the Rotary Club of Studio City/ Sherman Oaks, and the Chabad of Studio City float celebrating the festival of lights. And a great group of people called Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles deserve a shout out for their efforts to make the world a better place.
Appearing at the end of the parade was a traditional Santa on a super-cool motorbike instead of traveling by reindeer power. I wanted to walk back to the beginning of the parade, and thought I’d get a workout by wearing my new Skechers Shape-ups, the footwear that tones your muscles when you walk. However my feet never touched the ground for the rest of the night, thanks to the unforgettable experience of being in the Studio City Holiday Parade.