HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Martha Villaverde looks forward to the Candy Cane Parade every year.
In fact, Villaverde and her friends haven’t missed the annual parade in 12 years.
"It's beautiful," she said. "I enjoy it when I go to the parade on Hollywood Beach. It's really nice."
The Candy Cane Parade began in 1955 and is one of the longest running parades in the country.
This year’s parade will take place on Dec. 3 from 7 to 9 p.m.
The route will start along the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, near Scott Street South and finish on Harrison Street.
Complimentary bleacher seating will be available at various locations along the parade route from Garfield Street to Polk Street. However, parade goers are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs.
"I've only lived here a few years so I'm still new to the parade but my wife and her family have been going for 10 to 15 years and she was the one who really got me into it, " Matthew Sweetland said. "It's a great place to spend time with my family, especially for my kids. Everyone is there in the holiday spirit and spending time with their own families."
This year's parade will feature more than 50 groups including high school marching bands, JROTC units, and colorful floats that feature many holiday favorites.
And yes, Santa Claus is expected to make a guest appearance.
Parade goers can look forward to catching candy canes and starlight mints throughout the event.
For McArthur High School JROTC Major Jon Sammuson, the parade serves as a learning tool.
"It's usually the first time they march in front of an audience and it's a wake-up call to them to watch how they look and present themselves in front of people,” said Samusson, whose cadets have participated in the parade for 11 years.
For more information about the parade contact Hollywood City Program and Events Manager Toni Lynn Bridges at 954-921-3404.
Story written by Local 10 News intern Camille Montano