With the welcome return of the cooling marine layer, more than 650 people happily started Labor Day with an al fresco breakfast above Picnic Beach in Heisler Park, a semi-annual communal gathering that unofficially marks the beginning of the off-season.
Patrons cumulatively handed over $3,200 in $5 tabs for pancakes and sausages flipped by firefighters and lifeguards and donated by local restaurants including Las Brisas, the White House and Orange Inn. Kirk Summers, swathed anonymously in a crisp black apron, manned the fry grill next to the ticket booth. He’s used to the heat. His other gig: interim fire chief.
“He showed up at 6, apron clad and went to work and never left that post ‘til it ended,” said Exchange Club organizer Sande St. John. Proceeds are donated to the club’s national project, child abuse prevention, she said midweek.
Out-of-town visitors like Laurie and Michael Paiz, of Corona, enjoyed the novelty of taking their 4-year-old son Garrison for a beach-view breakfast at the recommendation of her mother, who lives in town.
Artist and violinist Doug Miller serenaded those waiting their turn, which included Mayor Toni Iseman, City Manager John Pietig, retailer Heidi Miller and former clinic director Dr. Tom Bent.