By Andrea Primer, Special to the Independent
Parade watchers and participants were blessed by a beautiful day when the Laguna Beach community came together to celebrate the nation and the small town they love last Saturday for the 47th annual Patriots Day Parade. In honor of the theme, “All Together Now”, locals united for an annual event where seemingly half the community participates and the other half lines the street in support.
As the sun beat down on Forest Avenue, parade watchers started to gather their families, pets, umbrellas, star shaped sunglasses and fanny packs on the sidewalks, while unaware tourists navigated around the crowds baffled at the mass of people.
At the parade’s start near the high school, the Marine Corps marching band played songs to pump up the crowd as parade watchers settled into their places and the police motor escort kicked off the parade. Following them came the official parade banner held by the Laguna Beach Boy Scouts, the American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars Combined Color Guard and the Miramar Marine Corps band.
Parade president, Ed Hanke II, drove through the street waving, clearly proud of the parade’s success and its admirers.
Grand marshal Capt. Jason Ehret and his two children drove through smiling and waving, as the crowd cheered for him.
Ruby’s Diner encapsulated not only the American tradition, but the 1950’s diner tradition as they paraded in a sea of red white and blue, headed by a red and white vintage Fairlane.
A new addition to this year’s parade was the several pet conscious entries, specifically the Pet Rescue Center participants, who caught the attention of watchers with their brightly colored tie-dye shirts and the many good looking pets that paraded with them.
The two-hour long event dazzled with displays of creativity and community pride. At an awards ceremony afterwards, Ehret awarded his trophy to the Laguna Beach Unified Elementary Band, who’s display of musicality and passion enhanced the aesthetics of the parade. Hanke awarded the President’s Theme trophy to Transition Laguna, a group of community resident who are dedicated to promoting self-reliance and sustainability at the local community level.
Transition was also selected as the first place winner in the community service division.
Parade enthusiasts Ramsey Erickson, of Dana Point, sat on the curb with his daughter from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and watched through his star-shaped sunglasses, while his daughter Lily, 9, waved a small American flag feverishly through the air. “I grew up in Laguna and remember watching the parade when I was younger. I have brought my daughter every year and she loves it. I want her to have the same memory of this community as I have, even though we live a little too far south to be considered current Laguna Beach residents,” Erickson said.