Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day Festivities

I don't know how you spent your Labor Day holiday weekend, but let me share mine with you.My wife and I spent our holiday on the California Central Coast in a town so small that it isn't even a town, per se. No mayor or city council to drive you nuts with boneheaded decisions - only a community services district charged with keeping the water and sewers flowing, the trash picked up and fires fought.

In this little burg of only 6,000 permanent residents there are two really big events each year - Independence Day and Labor Day. On the latter, this weekend, there is the annual Pinedorado celebration, sponsored by the local Lions Club. This time around the theme was "Home Town Heroes".

REMINISCENT OF THE FISH FRY OF YEARS PASTThis event is real small town Americana and reminds me very much of what the Costa Mesa Fish Fry and parade used to be when our town was much smaller. Pinedorado includes a parade Saturday morning which travels the entire length of the town in which you'll see service clubs on display, the football team riding on a flatbed truck, local school bands, local emergency responders and Shriners on minibikes.

We saw several mounted groups, including a couple of locally-bred Clydesdale horses pulling a wagon and the pastor of the local Presbyterian church aboard his beautiful paint stallion. And, since "stuff happens" the local Boy Scout troop manned the shovels to clean up behind the equine groups.

...AND HOT RODSAutomobile fans were treated to a flock of vintage Thunderbirds, a couple lonely Corvettes and a covey of Smart4Two cars. The automotive hit, though, was the Dodge Viper Sheriff's Cruiser used as the "pace car" for the event.

We also saw members of the local bicycling club, clowns on scooters, four companies of strong, enthusiastic, disciplined young people from the Grizzly Youth Academy and a group called the Krazy Kelptics - they played music using kelp as instruments! We even saw a flatbed truck loaded with "floozies" from a local bar. As I said, this is small town Americana.


This year was an especially patriotic event. This year the 1st Marine Division Band from Camp Pendleton marched in the parade and gave a concert following the parade in the parking lot of the local Veterans Hall that was attended by hundreds of admirers in a standing-room only crowd. As I watched the band play I saw many a tear in eyes among those in the crowd.

Grand Marshals for this year's event were more than two dozen local residents - members of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" - who either served in the military in World War II or performed as "Rosie the Riveter", supporting the troops at home. They were transported in the parade by huge military trucks and the Marine Band preceded them as an honor guard. You couldn't keep from feeling proud of those brave men and women who sacrificed so much for us all, and of those young Marines serving our country today.
THIS FAIRGROUNDS NOT FOR SALEThis little community has a "fairgrounds", just as Costa Mesa does, right in the center of town. However, there is absolutely no chance it will be put on the auction block to help balance the state budget. Nope, this "fairgrounds" is used only once each year - the Labor Day holiday weekend. It contains permanent little structures for ticket sales, booths for food sales and games and a little, teeny railroad for children to ride. The entire "fairgrounds" would fit nicely in the front parking lot at Costa Mesa City Hall. In the weeks before Pinedorado members of the Lions Club tighten nuts and bolts and slap a fresh coat of paint on everything so, as you sit and enjoy your Hearst Ranch beef or chicken, you'll be proud of your surroundings.

Sunday, in the parking lot where the crowd assembled the day before to hear and cheer the Marine Band, there was a car show, where classic cars and hot rods from the area are put on display to jog memories of many of us who remembered the days when the cars were new and we were, too. This year that part of the event grew so much that they had to block off one of the main streets adjacent to the parking lot for the overflow entries. It was great!

That's how we spent our weekend - mingling with happy, patriotic folks honoring my parent's generation for their selfless sacrifice to keep our country free. I hope you had a good time, too. Now, back to reality - there's a council meeting Tuesday requiring our attention.

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