The 52nd Annual Watts Christmas Parade returns on Saturday, Dec. 2 to usher in the holiday season.

 With legendary Watts natives “The Sylvers” serving as grand marshal, the procession starts at noon in front of the Watts Labor Community Action Center (WLCAC), 10950 S. Central Ave., proceeding down Central Avenue ending at Markham Middle School, 104th Street and Grandee Avenue.

 The grandstand will be in front of Grant AME Church at 104th Street and Central Avenue. Over the decades, the festive celebration has entertained tens of thousands thousands of viewers along its route and remains a venerable institution and cultural icon in the Watts/Willowbrook community.

The parade also pays homage to the legacy of its founder, the late Edna Aliewine, a nationally renowned Watts Community Activist. Partly motivated by memories of her visits to the Hollywood Christmas Parade as a child and asking her father “why isn’t there anybody like me in the parade?”, she and a handful of volunteers raised a meager budget and created the Watts Christmas Parade in 1964. Aliewine is also the co-creator of the Watts Walk of Fame and was devoted to “creating focal points of civic pride” in the community.

Hosted by the Edna Aliewine Foundation under the leadership of the founder’s daughter, Paula Aliewine, the event has called on home-grown talent to participate as parade marshals.

“This year we are featuring entertainers that have lived in the community of Watts and they don’t mind returning to give back and support our event,” Aliewine said. “In addition to The Sylvers, our celebrity marshal is singer Cherrelle and evangelist Ethel Bolden will serve as gospel marshal.

Another homegrown talent, singer Brenda Holloway, is also on board.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) and State Senator Steven Bradford (35th District) will be among the participating dignitaries.

In addition to the procession and staged entertainment the “Edna Aliewine Awards” will be presented at a pre-parade VIP breakfast. “We will salute three unsung ‘Sheroes,’ that have done outstanding work in the Watts community, making a difference in the community, just as our founder did,” Aliewine said. The honorees are Shamika Ossey, emergency preparedness public health nurse/community liaison, gospel singer Ethel Bolden, and journalist Florence Scott who was one of the founding members of the Watts Willowbrook Christmas Parade.

A variety of participants will include Miss Compton Pageant winners, high school bands including Jordan and Centennial high schools, drill teams, ROTC contingents, drum lines, car and motorcycle clubs and folkloric dancers from the Presentation Learning Center.

Among the sponsors are SEIU Local 99, Rep. Maxine Waters, the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino (15th District), the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, and Robertson’s Concrete.

For more details, call (323) 563-3629.