Fourth of July Celebration a Success

     Wow.  That's all I can say about yesterday's parade.  Notwithstanding a number of snags in preparation and execution, I think that, for a bunch of folks who (for the most part, if not for all of the folks pitching in) have never organized a parade before, Rosemead's Fourth of July Parade went off very well.

     Yes, I know that, from my participant's seat, I didn't get to experience the parade like everyone else out on the streets could experience it.  But, judging by the thousands of smiling faces I saw as I rode the back of a ridiculously large and yellow pickup truck, people were having fun.

     There were about 55 unique groups that participated in the parade, in about 90 separate units (with each car, truck, or marching group counted as a single unit).  That's an all-time high for Rosemead's Fourth of July Parade.  And we did that despite our three-year hiatus, and despite going head to head with San Gabriel's first Fourth of July Parade.

     A lot of the credit for this huge level of participation has to go to the folks who helped organize the "original" Rosemead Fourth of July parade.  Traffic Commission Chairperson Holly Knapp organized the parade for years, and she must have done a great job of helping a generation of Rosemead residents create memories of this annual extraveganza.  Because, over the past two years, one of the most common refrains we used to hear from residents (especially those up in the north near the parade route) was, "Why don't we have a Fourth of July parade, anymore?"

     Well, after two years of lobbying, you finally managed to get a unanimous city council onboard to support this thing.  And you got some outstanding city staff members to help raise the money it would take to pull this off.  [And I say "you" because this isn't something that I lobbied for, and I didn't do anything on parade day but show up and sit my butt in the big yellow truck].

     The parade committee is holding their "post-mortem" meeting next Wednesday.  I hope to be able to hear from them additional details.  In particular, I'm eager to hear the Sheriff's Department's estimate of the turnout at the parade and at the afternoon/evening carnival and fireworks celebration.  I'm willing to bet that the audience for the parade will also be at a record high, as will the crowd at the carnival and fireworks event.

     I hope to get an "official" list of thank yous from that meeting, as well.  In the meantime:  Thanks to the thousands of Rosemead and area residents for coming to the parade and fireworks.  There's no point in holding these events unless people want to come and watch, and you all voted with your feet.  Thanks to the hundreds of parade participants, who braved hours in a very hot sun, either marching, playing your instruments, or otherwise making a commitment to be a part of this grand parade. 

     Thanks to the parade committee, particularly those Rosemead residents who put dozens of hours into meetings, and dozens of hours *outside* of meetings (worrying, brainstorming and tracking down participants and solving equipment needs) in order to make this parade a success [And all they're going to get out of their efforts is a lousy t-shirt, and the thanks of a grateful city!].

     Thanks to the Los Angeles County Sheriffs deputies, who gave up holiday hours with their own families in exchange for managing the Rosemead Blvd crossing and the other street closures (Yes, I know they get overtime for that, too.  But it's still a sacrifice to be away from your family on a holiday like this).  Thanks to the staff of Rosemead's Parks and Recreation and Public Safety departments, who helped with the street closures and with decorating the street scape (they were on the streets by 5 in the morning, placing flags and balloons, and decorating the tents in the park and near city hall.  Many of them also helped decorate and drive the vehicles in the parade).

     Thanks to Mayor Tran and Councilmember Low, who both gave up time with their families to participate in the many planning committee meetings leading up to the parade.  Thanks to the other city council membrs, who voted to allow this parade to go forward.  Thanks to those Rosemead residents (particularly Barbara Murphy) for keeping the pressure up to make this parade happen, and to happen along the traditional route that it followed.

     Thanks to those who donated the use of the cars and trucks that comprised the parade (If I can get a list of car donars, I'll acknowledge them next week, too).

     Thanks to the residents and businesses that live or operate along the parade route or near Rosemead park, for putting up with the road closures, parking restrictions, and crowds that are a part of civic events like this one.  Thanks to the many area businesses that contributed the money for the t-shirts, flags, and other decorations that accompanied this event.  And, finally, thanks to the other groups and individuals who helped make this possible (Those who remain unknown to me as a simple participant and not as a parade committee or city staff member who actually worked on this thing).

     I've got some pictures attached to this.

1)  The check-in table.  Rosemead Parks and Recreation employee Pedro Castillo, along with volunteers Brian Lewin and Victor Ruiz, help a parade participant figure out where to go next.

2)  The U.S. Army Volunteers Reserve presents itself to their commanding officer, prior to the parade's start.

3)  Members of the 101st Airborne (WWII Re-enactors?), rest in the shade of Barrs Lumber, prior to the parade's start.

4)  Rosemead Mayor John Tran cheers along parade participants.

5)  The Garvey Intermediate School Band prepares for the parade's start.

6)  A Rosemead Parks and Rec employee enjoys his time behind the wheel, while waiting for the arrival of Assemblyman Mike Eng.

7)  Looking back towards city hall, you can get an idea of the crowd's turnout.  Not the best picture.  And Valley's a wide street, so you see a lot of space between the parade and the audience.  Still, you can see a lot of people along both sides of Valley.  The RYA (Rosemead Youth Association) was immediately behind the truck I was riding in).

8)  Rosemead's University of the West prepares to fall in to the parade.

9)  Ted Saulino's very patriotic shoes.

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Great Parade!

It was a great parade.  Hundreds of marchers and thousands of spectators.  And all but about six of them had smiles on their faces the whole day long.  Keep up the good work.