By Charlie Warner, Special to the Independent
The Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association float featuring a roller-skating mime and dancers whirling in traditional Mexican costumes won the Grand Marshals Trophy in the 51st Laguna Beach Patriot’s Day Parade.
“The Sister Cities floats are getting bigger and bigger each year. They should have their own parade!” said Sandi Werthe, a parade organizer.
The President’s Trophy, selected by parade President Charlie Quilter, was awarded to No Square Theatre’s float promoting their current show, “School of Rock.” The float included cast members singing and playing rock n’ roll and a vintage VW van with several guitar amps blasting music.
The parade line-up had two notable absences and one unexpected hitch. One of the grand marshals, 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic gold medalist and local resident Makenzie Fischer, skipped the annual spectacle as it overlaps with Stanford University’s water polo season. She is currently the second highest leading scorer on the team.
Her sister, Aria, a Laguna Beach High School senior and the youngest medalist on the Rio water polo team, held down role and shared the car with her father, Erich Fischer, who also competed on the 1992 U.S. Olympic water polo team.
Also missing was beloved local, Skipper Carrillo, a longtime participant in past parades, who was unable to attend due to ill health, announced parade commentator Jim Rue, who wished him a swift recovery. Carrillo was honored last year with a lifetime achievement award by the Exchange Club.
The Barstow Junior High School band also encountered a hurdle: its bus got stuck attempting to ascend the Third Street Hill. The band was able to put on a good show anyway.
Other parade winners included Bassett High School from La Puente, which was awarded the band sweepstakes. The combined Laguna Beach elementary school band took first in the elementary category.
The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars won first place in the Military Color Guard category.
Among community service floats, first place went to Laguna Beach Girl Scouts, whose banner read, “We do more than just sell cookies.” Second place went to the Honors Chorus of Top of World and El Morro Elementary, with third place awarded to L.O.C.A. Arts Education.
Among commercial floats, first place was awarded to Laguna Beach County Water District, second went to the Pageant of the Masters’ dancing skeletons, and third was awarded to Stu News Laguna.
For youth floats, Laguna Presbyterian Preschool earned first prize with a float celebrating the church’s 100th year anniversary. Second place went to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and third to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.
In the novelty category, winners included Laguna Beach Seniors, Rotary Club, Anneliese Schools and the H.I.P. District float.
In the auto division, Ralphs was given first prize with its incredible antique “Ralphsmobile.” Other winners included, the Daughters of American Revolution, Patience Wright Chapter, Rotary Club, Laguna Classic Cars, Laguna Board of Realtors, and Woman’s Club.
In honoring patriots this year, Laguna Beach has shown its true colors, going beyond red, white and blue.