DOWNEY - The 59th annual Holiday Lane Parade, featuring four community-built floats and Santa Claus riding on a horse-drawn sleigh, will take place Sunday afternoon on Downey Avenue.The parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. and starts on Downey Avenue from Lexington Street to 3rd Street before disbanding at City Hall. Streets along the parade route will be closed starting at 11:30 a.m. Most streets should be reopened by 3:30 p.m., except for 5th Street between Brookshire and Downey avenues, which will reopen at 5:30 p.m., officials said. Several longtime participants will again take part in the parade, including the Downey and Warren high school bands, Downey Boy and Girl Scouts, and the Downey Elk's Lodge, all of whom have been in the parade for all 59 years. Other parade regulars, including the Compton Sounders, Divine Talents, Downey police and fire departments, and the Wells Fargo stagecoach will also return. The parade will feature floats from Country Inn of Downey, Downey Elks Lodge No. 2020, Divine Talents and the Downey Rose Float Association. Bands from surrounding schools will also participate, along with the Long Beach Jr. Concert Band and the Norwalk All City Youth Band. "Whether you hum, sing along or stomp to the beat, you'll enjoy all the marvelous bands that provide the music for the parade," the Downey Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the parade, said in a press release. "Residents and out-of-towners alike will enjoy the great mix of tradition, the new, the different and our old favorites." Longtime resident and community volunteer John Vincent has been named the parade's grand marshal. It will be his first time riding in the parade. "I can't believe he was not chosen many years ago," said Maria Larkin, chairman of the Holiday Lane Parade Committee. Vincent has been active in the community for many years, going back to 1960 when he was president of the Delvers Gem and Mineral Society. He served as president of the Downey Rose Float Association from 1970-71, 1973-74 and 1981-82. His wife, Ruth, worked in ticket sales for the Rose Float Association for 12 years. But Vincent may be best known for his work with the Downey Historical Society, where he has served as president and editor the last 22 years. Just about every organization calls on Vincent when they need information on Downey history. "When Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, John was a great help," Larkin said. Vincent was born Aug. 12, 1921 in Chippewa Falls, Wis., spending his early years on a dairy farm. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and received training at the Patton Desert Training Center in Indio in preparation for combat in World War II. After the war, Vincent attended St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minn., where he earned a BA and MS in Education, and another MS in Biology. This is where he met his wife and together they moved to California in 1953. Vincent worked as a biology teacher at various schools, including St. Thomas, Whittier College and USC. Today, he attends daily Mass at OLPH and ministers to sick and homebound residents.
********** Published: December 2, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 33