Mayberry meets Doo Dah in Sunland-Tujunga Fourth of July parade
Loud, proud and wet.
Can’t ask for much more from a Fourth of July parade, and that’s exactly what the 30th annual march down Foothill Boulevard in Sunland-Tujunga delivered Wednesday morning.
Well, maybe you could also request some sweetness. There was that, too.
“I liked when we got wet and got the candy, and saw the horses and the donkey,” 6-year-old spectator Madison Sullivan said after she was doused by a truckload of Little Leaguers with super water guns and tossed butterscotch and bonbon candies from a passing `30s roadster.
“And I liked the
cheerleaders (from Verdugo Hills High) because I want to cheerlead but I haven’t yet.”
On the loud front, fire engines wailed their sirens, motorcycle clubs revved their engines and a guy on a unicycle played bagpipes along the parade route from Mt. Gleason Avenue to Sunland Park.
“We always explain our parade as Andy of Mayberry meets the Doo Dah Parade,” said Parade Chairman Ellis Robertson, past president of the Sunland-Tujunga-Shadow Hills Rotary Club, sponsor the free-to-enter event that this year had about 60 participants in groups ranging from two to 60.
Tradition was represented by a six-horse contingent from the Lakeview Terrace-based War Horse Foundation. They’re re-enactors who use horses to teach history.
On Wednesday, four of them were decked-out in minuteman uniforms while two sidesaddle-riding ladies wore tartans, which at the time of our revolution the English forbade Scots to wear in their homeland.
“We wear this on Veterans Day and at various civic functions,” explained the foundation’s director, Fritz Bronner. “We present many famous cavalry regiments from around the world; we have about 80 different uniforms.”
On the more Doo Dah end of the spectrum, singer Super T honchoed a borrowed tractor that hauled a giant lemon sculpture on a flatbed trailer.
“I’m a rock star but I’m also a heavy equipment operator,” laughed T (real name: Tracy Underwood), a superheroic vision in thigh-high black boots, red minidress and blue – well, electric aqua – wig and opera gloves. “This all represents a whole lot of fun in a patriotic spirit. The lemon is just a conversation piece.”
Of course, it’s not an Independence Day parade without local politicians waving from the backs of classic convertibles. Thanks to redistricting, Sunland-Tujunga had an abundance of those this year: former district representative City Councilman Paul Krekorian and his family on a bright blue Ford Mustang, new district Councilman Richard
Alarcon with his wife and daughter on a classic `60s Chevy Malibu.
Plus Congressman Adam Schiff, just redistricted back into the area after a 10-year hiatus, atop a horse.
“It’s nice to be back in the parade, it’s a real slice of Americana,” Schiff said. “Though my wife is really the horse rider in the family.”
National pride was evident, of course, all along the flag-festooned parade route. But love of community was the more palpable emotion, referenced often by both spectators and participants.
“I’ve lived in Sunland for 17 years,” said writer Pat Kramer, who’s seen every Fourth parade in that time and participated in one as part of the local business and professional women’s organization. “It’s a pride thing; I love this community. I used to live in another part of the Valley, and since I moved here I’ve been a lot happier. You know your neighbors, you know the local businesspeople, even though we’re part of the city of L.A., it feels more like a small town. And we have the best air in the Valley!”
After riding on the local American Legion float, Korean War veteran Max McAdams spoke of his ties to the area.
“I practically grew up here,” he said. “I started high school at Verdugo in 1945 and I’ve been here most of my life. I taught school and I still work for Slater Realty, right here on the boulevard.”
And since he was born on the Fourth of July, McAdams definitely appreciates the party his neighbors throw for him every year.
“I keep trying to tell people that’s what all of those firecrackers are for,” he joked. “They’re celebrating my birthday!”