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Jordan Sparks serves as Glendale Christmas parade Grand Marshal

December 5, 2016 GMT

Glendale’s Fourth Annual Hometown Christmas Parade Committee is thrilled to announce that international recording artist Jordin Sparks will serve as this year’s Grand Marshal and will participate in the parade on Dec. 10 in downtown Glendale.

Sparks, a Glendale native, is a singer, songwriter and actress who became famous after winning the sixth season of “American Idol” at age 17. Her self-titled album went Platinum and she has appeared on multiple television shows. Sparks made her debut on Broadway in the 2010 musical “In the Heights” as Nina Rosario.

The Hometown Christmas Parade is an old-fashioned community event for the whole family and features 130 entries from churches, businesses and community groups from all over the Valley.

The parade route begins at 52nd Avenue and continues west along Glendale Avenue, ending at 58th Drive. The parade has grown in popularity each year and more than 10,000 people are expected to line the streets to be part of the festivities.

Staging for the parade entries begins at 9 a.m. The parade itself begins at 11 a.m. and it lasts until approximately 1. Entry competition categories include Best Christmas Theme, Most Entertaining, Best Overall Appearance and Best Marching Band.

Some of the floats and entries include a live nativity to lead the parade, Wells Fargo Stage Coach, Grand Canyon University Marching Band, Miss Teen Glendale, Arizona Cardinals Big Red, Sanderson Ford’s Santa Claus float, and the entire El Zaribah Shrine parade unit including miniature cars, camels and clowns.

The grand finale of the parade features the Sounds of the Southwest Singers, who share the joy of the Christmas season by inviting the crowd to join in singing Christmas Carols.

This year, Brelby Theatre Company is hosting an “ugly sweater” contest prior to the parade and the winner will ride in the parade. More than 2,400 people participate in the floats and entries, as well as, hundreds of community volunteers.

Proceeds from the Hometown Christmas Parade benefit Glendale’s local food bank Hope for Hunger. In addition to the cash proceeds, a city-wide food drive provides thousands of pounds of non-perishable, canned food to Hope for Hunger, which relies solely on volunteers and donations to serve those in need. Last year, more than 9,500 pounds of food was collected and $11,000 was donated to Hope for Hunger.

Hometown Christmas Parade also partners with Operation Santa Claus. On parade day, the public may bring non-perishable food items, clothing or new toys to donate to ABC15′s Operation Santa Claus presented by Sanderson Ford and Sanderson Lincoln.

Donations and proceeds support Hope for Hunger, as well as, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, Military Assistance Mission and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix. Collection locations will be set up along the parade route on Glendale Avenue.

The parade is supported by many local businesses including: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, ABC15 Arizona, Sanderson Ford, Sanderson Lincoln, Canyon State Bus Sales, Glendale Firefighters Union, Grand Canyon University, McCarthy Construction, Sands Chevrolet, The Glendale Star, Glencroft Senior Living, , S&K Oil Sales, Glendale Civic Pride Ambassadors, Crescent Crown, Wells Fargo, Banner Health, Outdoor Media and Simon Med. Additional community supporters include Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital, Arrowhead Cadillac, BNC Bank, Chasse Building Team, Family Life, Glendale Community College, John F Long Foundation, Mrs. Klein’s Pickles, and Sir Speedy.

For information, go to HometownChristmasParade.org, or Facebook.com/hometownchristmasparadeglendale.

Kari Sliva is the communications project manager for the office of Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers