Celebrity Grand Marshal
KTLA 5 Anchor
Vera Jimenez is KTLA 5’s meteorologist for the KTLA 5 News at 6, 6:30, 10 and 11 on weeknights. Vera was born in Mexico and moved to Southern California when she was 3. Most of her family still lives in Garden Grove. She went to Bolsa Grande High School and Santa Ana Community College. She later attended Cal State Long Beach where she graduated with honors in religious studies. It was during her time at SACC that she started in broadcasting. She interned at KIK-FM in Orange and then got a job producing traffic for Shadow Broadcasting. She landed a fill-in job doing traffic overnights at KFWB-AM. The best learning experience came while at KNX-AM, where she was an airborne traffic reporter. Vera eventually got a chance to work on television — first for KABC-TV and then for KCBS-TV, both here in Los Angeles. While at KCBS-TV, Vera went back to school to study meteorology from Mississippi State, earning her certificate in August 2009. Vera has earned two Emmys, three Golden Mikes and three Golden Pylons. Learn more about Vera at: https://ktla.com/author/vera-jimenez/
Tony Adkins, PA
Theme Grand Marshal
CHOC Children’s Hospital
Tony Atkins, PA. Known as the Dancing Doc, Tony Adkins, PA-C, MPH, MCHS, is a pediatric neurosurgery physician assistant at Children’s Hospital of Orange County and now a social media phenomenon. In a matter of months he became well known around the world for his unique way of connecting with his young patients through music and dance. He has appeared on Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, ABC World News Tonight, Australia Morning News, a French medical show, and on several other national and international news and talk shows. These media outlets have affectionately named him the “Dancing Doc” because of his dance videos with his patients that have gone viral with millions of views. During his many interviews he often states that he is well aware that there isn’t one specific approach that is always the right one for every child. So he uses this method with the intentions of lifting his patient’s spirits trying to remind them of happiness that can often leave them while in hospitals. Learn more about Tony at: https://www.choc.org/providers/neurosurgery/tony-adkins-pa/
Madison Taylor Baez
Star of Let the Right One In
Madison Taylor Baez is a rising star in Hollywood. At just 12 years old the Orange County native has starred in three of the biggest shows on television within the past three years. Most recently on season 17 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent where she received Howie Mandel’s golden buzzer for her viral singing performance of Amazing Grace which had 48 million views. She also starred as Vampire Eleanor Kane on Showtime’s Let The Right One In, and as young Selena Quintanilla in Netflix’s Selena The Series. Learn more about Madison at: www.madisonbaezmusic.com.
Star of The Young and the Restless
Kate Linder, a regular celebrity of the Strawberry Festival, was cast as Esther Valentine on The Young and the Restless over 41 years ago in April 1982. She remains a key member of the top-rated daytime drama’s cast. On April 10, 2008, Linder received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Linder was elected to two terms as the Television Academy’s Governor of Daytime Programming Peer Group and was elected to multiple terms as a SAG-AFTRA board member. Linder’s feature film credits include Hysteria, Erased, Miss Meadows, Garry Marshall’s Mother’s Day, Voice from the Stone, The Charnel House, and she’s also one of the leads in Charlie Matthau’s upcoming Book of Leah and Echo Boomers. She enjoys the best of both worlds — on the air and in the air. “Acting is my life and my creative satisfaction,” says Linder. She never quit her pre-Y&R weekend job as a United Airlines flight attendant because it keeps her grounded. Learn more about Kate at: http://www.katelinder.com/bio.php
Star of Wednesday
Jamie McShane stars in Tim Burton’s smash-hit Netflix series Wednesday. The show spins off the iconic Addams Family series, following Wednesday Addams (played by Jenna Ortega) and is written by Al Gough & Miles Millar. Jamie plays Sheriff Galpin, who has a vendetta against the Addams family. Jamie is often recognized for his role as Eric O’Bannon in Netflix thriller Bloodline (from Damages creators Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman & Todd A. Kessler), starring alongside Ben Mendelsohn, Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek. He played the long-time friend and partner-in-crime of “Danny” (Mendelsohn). In film, Jamie appears in David Fincher’s Oscar Nominated Netflix film Mank, about famed Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman) who co-wrote Citizen Kane with Orson Welles. This marks Jamie’s second collaboration with David Fincher as they had previously worked together in Fincher’s thriller Gone Girl. Learn more about Jamie at: https://trademarktalent.com/jamiemcshane/
Visual Effects Artist
Yoshi Vu, a highly accomplished Visual Effects Artist and Marine Corps Veteran, is known for his work on several notable productions, including Star Wars: Episode IX-The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan, The Orville, Star Trek, and The Walking Dead. As a young boy, Yoshi was captivated by the process of movie-making, which ultimately inspired his career path. Born in Austin, Texas, he spent much of his childhood in southern California, eventually settling in and around Garden Grove. During his time at Garden Grove High School, Yoshi honed his skills in filmmaking by creating short films with his friends. He also volunteered at Mile High Comics, where he gained experience with different forms of media and software, which proved invaluable in achieving his career goals. Learn more about Yoshi at: https://bbyoshi147.artstation.com
Pamela Winslow Kashani
Star of Star Trek: the Next Generation
Pamela Winslow Kashani originated the role of Rapunzel in Into the Woods on Broadway and played Ensign McKnight on Star Trek: the Next Generation. Also on Broadway Pamela played Lucille in Meet Me in St. Louis, Babette (the feather duster) in Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella in Into the Woods. Across the U.S., Pamela has played leading roles at countless regional theaters and has made many TV guest appearances as well as hosting her own TV show, Arts Coast to Coast. With her husband Tim, Pamela co-leads Apples and Oranges Studios, the film, television and theater production company that creates inspiring content using the latest technology to change the world for the better. They co-produced the Tony Award winning productions Hair (Best Revival 2009), Memphis (Best Musical 2010), and An American in Paris (2015), and have produced two filmed stage musicals Emma and No One Called Ahead. Their non-profit arm, Apples and Oranges Arts, “takes the starving out of artist” with its THEatre ACCELERATOR program, using Silicon Valley principles to empower creative minds. She co-wrote and produced Winter Lights: A Holiday Musical Spectacular which made its debut at Discovery Cube OC last year. Learn more about Pamela at: http://pamelawinslowkashani.com/
Producer, Director & Technologist
Tim Kashani unites technology and the arts, driving humanity forward through shared stories. He recently co-founded Humani3, a venture studio that harnesses the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Realities (XR), and Web 3.0 (W3) to incubate and accelerate innovative technology solutions and stories that uplift humanity. Through empathy-driven action, Humani3 tackles three vital challenges to our future: climate, wellness, and community. On Broadway, Tim produced the Tony Award-winning productions of HAIR, Memphis, and An American in Paris. He directed the filmed stage musicals Emma and No One Called Ahead, expanding new development and distribution models for existing and emerging voices. Along with his wife Pamela, Tim recently co-wrote and directed Winter Lights: A Musical Spectacular, which debuted at Discovery Cube OC in 2022 and continues to delight audiences of all ages. Learn more about Tim at: https://nycoc.org/team/
Social Media Influencer
Maria Viera aspires to use the power of social media to celebrate and empower the heart of LA Food Culture, bringing a spotlight to local restaurants and vendors of her community, Maria Viera. As a Latina Food Content Creator, she hopes to provide social media marketing resources for small businesses through her platform @yumyumfeast. You can learn more about Maria at: https://www.instagram.com/yumyumfeast/#
Luke Santamaria, a native of Garden Grove, is a Welterweight contender who has proven to be a tough out for anybody with his smooth boxing skills and is still improving as he enters his prime. Learn more about Luke at: https://www.premierboxingchampions.com/luke-santamaria
William Hung. After his American Idol audition, William Hung’s rendition of She Bangs became famous for all the wrong reasons. Despite the harsh criticism he endured, William persevered—having gone on to attract a cult following, released three albums, and even performed live with Ricky Martin in Las Vegas. A motivational speaker and professional optimist, William is proof that the underdog can succeed when you rise above the haters and choose to be happy.
Former Miss Garden Grove
Former Miss California
Leah Cecil. As Miss Garden Grove 2011 and Miss California 2012, Leah had the honor or representing her hometown of Garden Grove at the national level and even worldwide. Leah graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Music from California State University, Fullerton. She was able to use her various Miss America scholarship winnings towards her education – graduating debt free! Leah has continued performing her harp professionally all-over Southern California for various special events, movies, and commercials. Over the past 10 years, Leah was also Brand Ambassador for the American Pistachio Growers, Marketing Manager for Porsche and Audi dealerships, and Project Manager at a major commercial product & apparel photography studio in Orange County. Her latest position is mother to her 6 month old son, Brody. Leah married the love of her life, Clark, in April 2020. She’s glad to be back in her hometown of Garden Grove!
Former Miss Garden Grove
Former Miss California
Bree Johnston is a former Miss Garden Grove and Miss California 2015. She grew up in West Garden Grove and is a graduate of Pacifica High School and California State University Long Beach. After her year of service as Miss California, she began her career as a fundraiser and has been raising funds for Orange County organizations for 7 years. Bree, her husband Mike and their two young children Hunter and Kate currently reside in Mission Viejo.
Musician and Composer
Scott Klopfenstein started his career as a 15-year-old kid in Garden Grove, playing with friends in local bands. Over the past 30 years he has made records and toured the world as a founding member of the popular ska band Reel Big Fish, composed and performed music for Off Broadway theaters in New York City, played for internationally renown acts like Green Day, The English Beat, Steve Bartek of Oingo Boingo and many more. His family and he have all worked at the Gem Theater as well as the Garden Amp over the past several decades, doing jobs from house manager to set design and building. Scott and his family live in Garden Grove. He is also the brother-in-law of Garden Grove City Council Woman Stephanie Klopfenstein.
Star of Saving Face
Michelle Krusiec is an actress with +25 years of credits in stage, tv and film. Her credits include Saving Face which earned her a Golden Horse Best Actress nomination. TV credits include The Resident, Hawaii Five-O, and more recently as icon Anna May Wong in Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood. As the co-host of Travelers, she traveled to over 50 destinations around the world making one of the earliest reality series for the Discovery Channel. In 2022, she participated in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women. Michelle writes socially relevant, darkly comedic, female driven narratives that originate from a personal cultural lens but with universally relatable themes. Michelle’s directorial short film Nian makes its world premiere at Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and can also be seen on season 3 of Hulu’s Bite Size Halloween. Her next feature A Million Miles Away stars Michael Pena. She’s proud to co-star with Ken Jeong in Tiger Mom which she co-wrote. Learn more about Michelle at: http://www.michellekrusiec.com.
Entertainer & Radio Personality
Victor Mendez, AKA El Negrito de la Buena Suerte, or Chocolate Bombon, is a Spanish-language radio personality, TV host, and magician. He currently has a Spanish-language radio show broadcast locally, throughout the United States and worldwide. He currently airs on Radio Suerte 90.3FM Garden Grove from 10:00AM-3:00PM Monday through Friday. Victor is multi-talented as a magician, juggler, a personality voice imitator, ventriloquist. Victor is the founder of the non-profit organization, Int. Crusade of the Penny a 501(3)Tax-exempt since 1987. His mission is to assist the less fortunate the handicap, and homeless. He believes that the “Handicap has Rights too!.”
Mark “Sancho Loco” Sanchez
Mark Sanchez, otherwise known as Sancho Loco, is a radio disc jockey at 90.3fm Radio Suerte. In his early career he was involved as a rapper/producer with the group N’cognito. Mark is also a graphic designer and has done designs for TV shows and sports athletes. You can find him on the weekends at Radio Suerte and on his YouTube channel “Lets Taco About It.”
Jim “Poorman” Trenton
Jim Trenton, nicknamed “the Poorman”, is an American radio broadcaster. He is best known as the creator and host of Loveline on KROQ-FM in Los Angeles from 1983 to 1993. Trenton created Loveline in 1983 as a Sunday night dating and relationships segment on the Los Angeles radio station KROQ, hosted by Trenton. From 1994 through 2004, Trenton worked at several Los Angeles-area radio stations. After departing KROQ, Trenton hosted shows on GrooveRadio (103.1), KIIS-FM (102.7), KPWR-FM (105.9), and twice at KYSR-FM (98.7 FM). Jim currently hosts a morning radio program on KLIE 90.3 FM “Radio Suerte”, a station located in Orange County, California. Trenton has successfully hosted his morning show Poorman’s Morning Rush on Radio Suerte for more than a year. Each day he has a musical theme of the day, followed by instant requests exclusively by the listeners based on the theme. The results create an absolutely magical playlist every morning. The station streams live online and with most apps as well at www.RadioSuerte.com. You can learn more about Jim at: www.poorman.net
Michael David has spent the last sixteen years as a radio announcer. He can currently be heard weeknights between 6:30pm and 11:30pm on K-Wave 107.9fm.
He is an audio producer for commercials and radio teaching programs. He has worked in radio promotions where he interacted with the public and has been the emcee for large events. He has been involved in on-air contests where prizes were offered to radio listeners. He has hosted live call-in programs, as well as hosted recorded community-affairs programs.