Merry Christmas, Watts!
The holiday cheer delivered by the Watts Christmas Parade can’t be described with a single phrase.
But when Congresswoman Maxine Waters, leading the annual parade on Saturday, was asked by Mommy In Los Angeles Magazine how she felt about participating in the annual event, she captured the spirit of the day with a few simple words— “We’re gonna have a good time today!”
The congresswoman was the parade marshal and sitting on the back of a convertible before the the procession began, Waters paid tribute to the founder of the Watts Christmas Parade, the late Edna Aliewine and commended Edna’s daughter, Paula Aliewine, for continuing with the tradition.
“I’m excited to be at the Watts Christmas Parade every year,” said Waters. “The founder, Edna Aliewine was a dear friend of mine. She loved this community, she organized this every year… and I’m very proud of her daughter, Paula, who’s carrying on that legacy!”
But Paula Aliewine almost skipped the festivities this year.
A recently retired law enforcement officer, Paula was hoping to take a break from the coordination, and countless hours of work it takes to put on the annual event. She was hoping to begin her retirement years as stress-free as possible. Plus, the parade cost would likely result in hefty out-of-pocket expenses too. Ultimately, though, she realized her mother’s efforts had become too important to let go.
“My mother in stature was ‘4 foot 11,’” shared Paula Aliewine. “She wore a size four and a half shoe… but boy was she powerful! When my mom was a little girl she went to a parade in Hollywood and saw no black faces there. She asked her father, ‘why aren’t there any people that look like us here?’… and here we are today!”
The 53rd Annual Watts Christmas Parade went on without a hitch Saturday and for a few hours nothing would interrupt the enthusiasm that was felt along Central Avenue in a city whose residents love representing their community.
A lively caravan of Watts organizations, schools and businesses walked for several blocks entertaining the crowds that lined up the streets. Spectators could be seen cheering and often times getting up to dance to the tunes of the live bands and local drumlines.
The LadieRiders, a female bike club founded in 2012 by cancer survivor Valisa Wilson entertained the crowds with unique bike maneuvers and R&B music playing from their bicycles.
“We ride out here for health reasons. We would like you guys to come out and enjoy the ride!” said Wilson.
For Paula Aliewine, who was featured in the premier print edition of Mommy In Los Angeles Magazine— the parade was another successful endeavor. While she mostly remained behind the scenes, she says her biggest satisfaction is seeing people happy.
“Nobody’s upset that day, nobody has problems. We’re just having fun!”
To Support the Edna Aliewine Foundation or become a sponsor for next year’s parade, contact Paula Aliewine at (323) 563-3629 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Pictures of the 2018 53rd annual Watts Christmas Parade: