Patriotism Marches Down State Street

Release Date: July 7,2016


The Sons of the American Revolution, descendants of American soldiers during the Revolutionary War, march during Santa Barbara's Fourth of July Parade on Monday.


Nina Calderon, 3, rides in a patriotic-themed wagon.
The Boy Scouts' Los Padres Council carry an American flag down State Street during the parade.
TOP: The Santa Barbara Motor Pool rides down State Street in a WWII vehicle.

CENTER: Flags are waved at the crowd from the Daughters of the American Revolution trolley.

BOTTOM: Hazel, left, and John Blankenship drive in the parade with a representation of the "Wings of Honor" sculpture to be installed at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.


July 5, 2016

Monday's "Spirit of '76" parade, the annual July 4th kick-off to a day and night of public celebrations culminating in the fireworks at West Beach, once again dispensed pride and gratitude down Santa Barbara's State Street. In a version now up to its 53rd annual affair, "Spirit of '76" is a grand tradition and an integral showing of solidarity, timely patriotism, and respect for the hard-won freedoms enjoyed by Americans.

At this parade, the procession of various groups, historical organizations, car clubs, baton and bagpipe handlers, and a range of other participants is framed by shining moments in public by local police and fire departments. Monday's parade officially commenced with a flanking of motorcycle police, five-abreast, flashing their lights and sounding sirens in a selective, even musical way. Less than an hour later, the parade closed with a large and lumbering fire truck, with flag-waving guests perched on top. (The point was apparent to all that we place greater faith in the fire departments' work and dedication in these parched, fire hazardous days.)

Bagpipes proved to be one of the recurring motifs this year, opening with the debut showing by the Gold Coast Pipe Band out of Camarillo at the beginning of the parade, and continuing midway through with the appearance by the Santa Barbara Sherriff's Pipe and Drum Corps. The Celtic forces were out and about this year, along with the lineage of American history going back to the Colonial era.

American Revolutionary descendants were well accounted for with the vintage unformed Sons of the American Revolution, followed later in the parade by the Daughters, riding in a Santa Barbara Trolley, and Children of the Revolution. Other wars and veterans in American history were paid tribute, as well, from the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans (replete with an actual Huey helicopter), the Santa Barbara Motor Pool's showcasing of a WWII-vintage jeep, and another appearance-as at the Summer Solstice parade—of Pierre Claeyssens' Veteran Foundation-sponsored model of the sleek, wing-like memorial sculpture soon to be erected at the airport.

Car clubs make up a popular component of the parade, starting-with chronological aptness-with the Model A Club of Santa Barbara. Mostly mint condition vintage cars, freely adorned with flags and red, white and blue regalia, made their stately way down State, amidst a chorus of bovine-sounding horns. Revved engines, a strutting of one's horsepower stuff, was more the sound of choice for the local Corvette club, while the Porsche Club of Santa Barbara seemed mostly content to let its moxie do the posing.

In other car-related news, State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson drove by, rising up through the sunroof of a Tesla and greeting her constituents with a hearty "happy birthday, America!" Another interesting politician encounter came when City Council Members strolled by the crowd with warm smiles and queenly waves, with member Cathy Murillo providing the comic relief of attempting to twirl a baton - although said baton was more street prone than sky bound.

Just prior to the Council's appearance, a group of gifted baton-wielders had appeared, connected with the All American Twirlers group, out of Santa Barbara and Camarillo. Other youth-based groups included the Cruz Dance and Entertainment group, led by teacher Rosemary Cruz, and the Santa Barbara Gymnastic Club, including a Ninja squad, a large gathering of mostly small people.

And then there was a familiar standby, Harpo the Clown. His dress code lived up to this year's parade theme, "Salute, the Red, White and Blue," while also going "green-" adding green curly poof of hair to the mix.

Some surprises were in store this year, as well. Santa Barbara's baseball team, the Foresters, were decked out in uniform and interacted with the crowd in fluid terms by unleashing the loads of their high-powered water cannons on the parched public. Another interaction relating to easing a parched public came courtesy of well-known local (and beyond) brewery Figueroa Mountain's display, a flatbed truck with a band playing the rock classic "Wild Thing" and at a volume which would normally earn censure by the constabulary.

This was a parade, about ceremony and celebration and toasting a great nation. Decorum, public noise regulations and the State Street status quo could wait for an hour or so.


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