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25,000 turn out for annual parade

Nearly 80 floats appear in Newhall event

Posted: July 5, 2008 12:37 a.m.
Updated: September 5, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Seven-year-old Ally O'Neill, of Castaic, keeps cool under an umbrella while eating ice cream as the Fourth of July parade kicked off Friday morning in downtown Newhall.

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Equipped with American flags, oversized umbrellas and their patriotic spirit, thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Newhall to cheer on the nearly 80 floats featured in the annual Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade.

The SCV Parade Committee, the all-volunteer organization that coordinates the annual city tradition, estimated that around 3,000 people participated in the parade while 25,000 spectators crowded the sidewalks of major Newhall streets like Lyons Avenue and Main Street.

“We were on the high side,” said parade chairman Leon Worden, adding that the high gas prices probably brought more visitors to the event.

While the parade entered its 77th year, Councilmember Laurene Weste added, “This is the first year the parade has been held on Main Street.”

With the theme of the “Sights and Sounds of Santa Clarita” and grand marshal John Boston (also known as Mr. SCV), the parade featured 77 entries from all sorts of local organizations, ranging from Cub Scouts to nonprofit organizations and local businesses.

North Park Community Church took top honors for their entry, which featured dozens of North Park families walking to the sound of inspirational music that filled the streets of the hot Friday morning.

Holding patriotic colored pom poms, kids performed choreographed dances and church members held flags and jumbo red, white and blue star-shaped balloons as the sound of blowing stadium horns echoed from the groups of parade spectators.

North Park’s display and enthusiasm won them the Sweepstakes category. Weste, who served as chairwoman of the 11 judges, called the North Park entry “overwhelmingly marvelous.”

The parade also brought many quirky floats, like the Lazy Boys of Santa Clarita, who rode the mile or so parade route while comfortably seated in their reclining chairs.

City officials, including Mayor Bob Kellar, City Manager Ken Pulskamp and the councilmembers celebrated Independence Day on horseback while Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth rode through the parade in the backseat of shiny new cars.

Although the hot summer temperatures had many drinking water, it didn’t ruin the patriotic spirit of the thousands who watched the parade go by.

John Watkinson marked his 15th visit to the parade on Friday and shared the experience with girlfriend Tracy Thompson and son, TJ.

The Canyon Country residents found a spot on Lyons Avenue and Chestnut Street to set up their canopy and folding chairs.

“It’s just so fun,” Watkinson said as his girlfriend added, “And patriotic.”

Cindy Kozlowski of Valencia caught the parade on Lyons Avenue with her husband Darrin, sons Teddy, 7, and Trevin, 11, and his friend Jake.

The family has been attending the parade for nine of the 11 years the family has lived in Santa Clarita.
This year, her 13-year-old daughter Taylor was featured in Canyon Theatre Guild’s float.

Kozlowski enjoyed the celebration and said she attended her hometown Independence Day parade when she was a kid.

“It’s a nice tradition to honor our country,” she said.

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