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 lagunabeachparade.org 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.
2012’s Parade Lineup
- Laguna Beach Police Motor Escort
- Parade Banner, Laguna Beach Girl Scouts,American Legion Post 222 & Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5868 Combined Color Guard
- 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band, Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar
- Parade President Ed Hanke II
- Parade Theme Banner, Laguna Beach Boy Scouts
- Grand Marshals General Lee and Dorene Nunley Butler
- Laguna Beach Seniors
- Honored Patriots of the Year Louise E. Buckley, U.S. Women’s Army Air Corps
- South Orange County Vietnam Veterans
- Laguna Beach High School Band
- Citizens of the Year Betsy and Gary Jenkins
- Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education
- SchoolPower, Laguna Beach
- Junior Citizens of the Year Caroline Cannan and Bryce Blanton
- Laguna Beach High School Alumni Association
- Athlete of the Year Natasha Strickland
- Assistance League and Assisteens Auxiliary
- Artist of the Year Jorg Dubin
- Sawdust Festival
- Laguna Beach Unified School District Elementary Band
- Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach
- LaPlaya Center and Orange County Model A Ford Club
- Orange County Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution
- Patience Wright Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution
- Exchange Club of Laguna Beach
- 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
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
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
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
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