Get Out the Flag for Patriot’s Day

Supporters of the Laguna Beach Library march on Forest Ave. Photo by Ted Reckas.

By Ben Bodart, Special to the Independent


Laguna Beach puts on its patriotic finery this Saturday, March 3, wearing the colors that have honored the nation for more than 225 years. In Laguna, the Patriot’s Day Parade marks its 46th year.


Traffic will undoubtedly be slower as downtown streets are temporarily closed for the morning event. “We have a traffic control plan that should barricade the downtown intersections and redirect the vehicles on Coast Highway and Canyon Road between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.,” said Lt. Jason Kravetz, who does not anticipate other problems on the .7-mile route along Park Avenue, Glenneyre Street and Forest Avenue. The parade of 101 entries ends at City Hall.  (Find a list of the closed streets at the end of this article).


Despite a cold front and rain early in the week, Saturday’s forecast calls for sun and 73 degrees.


For residents, the celebration lasts a day. For the parade’s eight organizers, work begins in August to ensure a smooth run on parade day. “It is first one meeting per month. The more we get closer to the big day, the more we see each other. At the end, we are quite like a small family,” says Ed Hanke, this year’s parade president.


This year’s theme, “Never Forget,” carries multiple meanings. “We first want people to remember all our veterans have done for the American flag and to preserve the freedom across the world,” said Hanke, whose committee selected retired Gen. Lee and Doreen Butler as grand marshals. “But we also want people to notice the everyday work that is done in the streets of Laguna.”


The theme resonated when committee members considered nominees for artist of the year, settling on Jorg Dubin, who devised Heisler Park’s recently dedicated 9/11 memorial entitled “Semper Memento,” which translated means always remember.


“I was very surprised but it is always a great honor to be recognized by our community,” said Dubin, a 35-year resident. “It is probably a coincidence that the memorial and the theme go along so well, but I think it is really important that the people understand why our country has done all it has done and to never forget about that.”


Dubin is no stranger to the parade. As a member of the Kings Order of El Mysah, a faux fraternal order of Elvis Presley worshipers outfitted in leopard-print fezzes, Dubin and his friends turned heads and blasted Elvis favorites along the parade route from his vintage Cadillac convertible.


Even without the company of a group, the artist of the year is not about to take his turn in the spotlight without some creative twist. “It might be a surprise or two,” Dubin said. “For me it is nothing extravagant, but it could have some visual effects that might surprise.”


A lesser-known parade contributor is Niva Razin, author of the 2012 essay contest. The sixth-grader at Thurston Middle School is a student of Sarah Schaeffer’s language arts class. Her essay is available on and in the program handed out along the parade route.


This year’s parade welcomes almost a dozen new participants, including bands from Barstow and Palmdale, Hanke said.


Another new entry comes from longtime resident Michelle Boyd, whose Twisted Stitchers’ work is visible along some downtown streets. “Being a part of the parade seemed to be the natural thing to do with the work I have done on Glenneyre Street and a special car it took me three weekends to decorate,” she said.


The first event stepped off on Feb. 22, 1967, the fruition of Emily Ross’s dream. Ross wished upon her lucky star for a parade that would “instill in our youth love of country and respect for the flag.” Since the town’s streets are congested with beach-going throngs on July 4, the nation’s independence day, organizers have settled on their own Patriot’s Day celebration in March, following the national Presidents’ Day holiday.


Roadways which will be closed during the parade are:

*Park Avenue (Between Wendt Terrace and Pacific Coast Highway)
*Glenneyre (Between Legion Street and Forest Avenue)
*Forest Avenue (Entire length between Pacific Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road)
*Third Street (Entire length between Park Avenue and Forest Avenue)
*Second Street (Entire length between Mermaid and Forest Avenue)
*Mermaid (Entire length between Second Street and Third Street)

Ben Bodart is the Indy’s intern from Belgium.

Past patriots in the parade.

2012’s Parade Lineup

  1. Laguna Beach Police Motor Escort
  2. Parade Banner, Laguna Beach Girl Scouts,American Legion Post 222 & Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5868 Combined Color Guard
  1. 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band, Marine Corps Air  Station, Miramar
  2. Parade President Ed Hanke II
  3. Parade Theme Banner, Laguna Beach Boy Scouts
  4. Grand Marshals General Lee and Dorene Nunley Butler
  5. Laguna Beach Seniors
  6. Honored Patriots of the Year Louise E. Buckley, U.S. Women’s Army Air Corps
  7. South Orange County Vietnam Veterans
  8. Laguna Beach High School Band
  9. Citizens of the Year Betsy and Gary Jenkins
  10. Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education
  11. SchoolPower, Laguna Beach
  12. Junior Citizens of the Year Caroline Cannan and Bryce Blanton
  13. Laguna Beach High School Alumni Association
  14. Athlete of the Year Natasha Strickland
  15. Assistance League and Assisteens Auxiliary
  16. Artist of the Year Jorg Dubin
  17. Sawdust Festival
  18. Laguna Beach Unified School District Elementary Band
  19. Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach
  20. LaPlaya Center and Orange County Model A Ford Club
  21. Orange County Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution
  22. Patience Wright Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution
  23. Exchange Club of Laguna Beach
  24. Laguna Beach City Council and Officials

28. Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association

29. Rotary Club of Laguna Beach

30. San Clemente Scots

31. Pacific Marine Mammal Center

32. Girl Scouts of Laguna Beach

33. Boy Scout Troop 35 and Cub Scout Pack 35

34. Laguna Beach Little League

35. Kyne Dance Academy of Laguna Beach

36. National Children’s Study

37. Capistrano Valley Model A Club

38. Animal Crackers Pet Rescue

39. American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)

40. Guide Dogs for the Blind, VIP3 Puppy Raisers

41. AIDS Services Foundation

42. Palmdale High School Band

43. Excalibur Car Club

44. Y Adventure Guides and Sunshine Expedition

45. Laguna Beach Fire Department

46. Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce

47. The HIP District

48. Laguna Beach Community Clinic

49. Laguna Beach HIV Advisory Committee

50. Laguna Beach Police Department

51. Foothill High School Band, Santa Ana

52. Laguna Beach Library

53. Mission Hospital Laguna Beach

54. Tivoli Terrace and Tivoli Too!

55. Laguna Beach Film Society

56. JJ and the Habibis Laguna Beach Belly Dancers

57. Laguna Beach Garden Club

58. Art-a-Fair

59. Jurupa Valley High School Band

60. Cal Elite, Rancho Santa Margarita

61. Laguna Board of Realtors

62. First Team Estates

63. Laguna Coffee Company

64. Fountain Valley District Marching  Band

65. Richard Leger

66. Ebell Club of Laguna Beach

67. Pageant of the Masters

68. St. Catherine of  Siena Parish School

69. StuNewsLaguna

70. Festival of Goddesses

71. Diamond Crestview Neighbors

72. Barstow Junior High School Band

73. House of Big Fish, K’ya Bistro and Rooftop Lounge

74. Laguna News-Post

75. Laguna Playhouse

76. Combined Honors Choruses of Top of World & El Morro Elementary Schools

77. Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department

78. Laguna Beach Independent

79. Laguna Beach Water Polo Club

80. Laguna Beach Lifeguard Association

81. Bassett High School Band, La Puente

82. Coastline Pilot

83. Walt and Pam Otto

84. Soroptimist International of Laguna Beach

85. Ruby’s Diner

86. Mel Jackson Fitness Thru Dance & Imagination

87. Laguna Laughter Club

88. Rialto Middle School Band

89. Twisted Stitchers Yarn Group


91. United Studios of Self Defense

92. Hobie Sports

93. Rick Strollo

94. No Square Theatre

95. Dave DePierro

96. Oaks Middle School Band, Ontario

97. Ralphs, Laguna Beach

98. Waste Management of Orange County

99. Peter Salomon/ World War II Rangers Lead the Way

100. Company 77 Mobile Pizza Unit

101. Spurs & Satin

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