Soap star Antonio Sabato Jr. grew up in Italy, but said he remembers the first time he arrived in Los Angeles and caught the parade. “It’s a beautiful event, and overwhelming to be in it,” he said as he held his 3-year-old daughter, Mina. “It helps to keep Hollywood nice, so that the kids and families can come down here.” Onlookers said the parade helps to define Los Angeles. “We’re lucky to be out here in this California weather,” said 23-year-old Mandi Volivitch of Long Beach, sitting on a blanket on the curb and munching on pizza. “It’s all about being part of the Hollywood scene.” She and son Jeffrey, 5, who planned to ask Santa for a cell phone and guitar, and her friend Brandi Powers-Payne, 19, said it was the first time they had attended the parade. They were looking forward to seeing rapper Romeo as well as actor Tyler Hilton of “One Tree Hill.” “We’re devoted fans,” Volivitch said. Kim Payne of Glendora said she came out to cheer on her 14-year-old daughter, Jazmin, who would be holding the letter “R” as a banner holder for the Glendora Marching Band. “We’re star-struck by all the cartoon characters,” Payne said of the Spider-Man, Batman and Harry Potter characters that stand in front of the landmark Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Susan Abram, (818) 713-3664 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Tinseltown glittered Sunday with the merriment of the holiday season as dozens of celebrities, cartoon favorites and marching bands descended on Hollywood for the annual Christmas parade. An estimated 1 million spectators turned out in coats, jackets and blankets to protect them from a chilly evening breeze that blew palm fronds lining the parade route on Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. Young and old alike stood on their toes to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities as silver-saddled equestrian teams, antique cars, marching bands from across the nation and, of course, Santa Claus passed by to signal the start of the holiday season in Los Angeles. “It’s about coming out here to see Johnny Grant,” said John Schneider, of “Smallville” and “Dukes of Hazzard” fame. Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood, has said this year would be his last time producing the event. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “I’ve been a big fan of television and movies and the parade before I did ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’ and it’s really cool for me to be considered a friend of Johnny Grant’s,” Schneider said. “He’s a Hollywood fixture.” Legendary actor Mickey Rooney, who rode in the parade during Hollywood’s Golden Era – with the likes of Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin – called the experience “a wonderful thrill.” “It’s about smiles. It’s about Hollywood. It’s beautiful,” he said. This year’s grand marshal, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was the first elected official in the parade’s history to kick off the festivities. Villaraigosa recalled attending the parade with his mom and aunt when he was a child. “For someone who grew up in Los Angeles, attending this parade is a real honor,” he said.