LOS ANGELES — What would have been a celebratory announcement about the return of a beloved Hollywood tradition, instead began on a somber note — a moment of silence for the lives lost Sunday night when the driver of an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Hannah Choi of Fullerton hadn’t heard about the fatal incident until Monday morning as she and other members of the PAVA World Korean Traditional Band prepared to perform a preview in front of the Dolby Theatre.  

What You Need To Know

  • An incident at a Wisconsin parade that saw an SUV plow through a crowd has prompted heightened security at the Hollywood Christmas Parade

  • While there is no evidence Sunday's crash was terrorism-related, LAPD has reached out to the law enforcement officials in Wisconsin and has been tracking the investigation

  • Security measures for the Hollywood parade will be heightened with enhanced precautions in place

  • The 89th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade supports Toys for Tots and is set for Sunday

“We’re, like, all really excited to be back,” Choi said, noting how disappointed they’d been when last year’s Hollywood Christmas Parade was canceled because of COVID-19.

This will be her third time doing the parade, but safety never really crossed her mind — until now.

“I’m really hoping, you know, for the best,” Choi said. “I don’t go into a parade being concerned about, you know, the well-being of my team.”

That’s someone else’s job — specifically, Capt. Brent McGuyre of LAPD’s Hollywood Division.

“This is something we’ve been unfortunately preparing for in years past,” he said, explaining that security is always a top priority at this massive event.

McGuyre says the LAPD immediately reached out to the law enforcement officials in Wisconsin and have been tracking the investigation. Police there say there is no evidence Sunday’s crash, which also left dozens of people injured, was a terrorist attack. Still, McGuyre is taking extra precautions.

“Based on what happened in the parade, we will be enhancing some of our security precautions this year,” he said, “but again that will probably be on top of what we’ve been doing in the past.”

There will, of course, be a number of street closures with traffic officers directing all vehicles away from the area. This will create a buffer zone, McGuyre explained, so that there “shouldn’t be any cars anywhere in the vicinity of any spectators of the parade route.”

Police will form another layer of protection with officers stationed along the parade route, on alert for suspicious activity. And there will be other security measures that spectators may not notice and that the captain wouldn’t disclose. 

“To the extent possible, I believe we’ve taken every precaution necessary to have a safe and fun event,” he said.

Knowing that allows Choi to just enjoy the moment.

“I trust that the LAPD will do everything they can to keep us safe,” she said. “We’re all just trying to have a good time. And I’m really hoping that’s what’s going to happen.”

As a senior at Troy High School, this is her final holiday parade with PAVA, and she just wants to soak it all in — a heart filled with cheer and not fear, as she twirls her way up Hollywood Boulevard.