Orinda’s 36th annual 4th of July parade lived up to the slogan, “America’s Best Hometown Parade.” A multitude of Lamorinda organizations marched along the route on Independence Day.
Perennial parade attendees Pat and Pete Williams said they come because they like a patriotic parade. Henry Fuldner said he was glad the parade could happen this year, and it was a first for his three-year-old son, Toby.
Gary Peare, who directed the Orinda Marching Band, said, “It’s an honor to play in the parade, as it reflects on the freedoms of which this holiday reminds us.”
Kristen Morcos opined that it was great to see all the people out enjoying the parade.
“Seems like there is great energy and enthusiasm for this event,” she said. “This was evident among the children as they raced for the candy being thrown out.”
Former City Council member, Bobbie Landers, shared memories of the parade’s inception: “It was 1983-1984, in the throes of the drive for incorporation. Our PR team felt we needed to bring all the residents together. My hometown of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, was red, white and blue from one end to the other on 4th of July.”
She continued, “This seemed like a perfect fit for Orinda – a parade where anyone can march. To start off the day, John Fazel organized the first fun run. It was a 5K and a 10K run, and everyone who passed the finish line got a ribbon. After the parade, every non-profit got a table in the park. The community responded positively, as evidenced by the fact we continue to have the parade.”
Long time participant, Steve Harwood, enjoyed announcing from his prime spot in front of the Community Center.
“Along with my pals Bill Cosden and Scott Butler, I’ve been announcing the parade for about 30 years,” said Harwood. “I see our 4th of July festivities as an opportunity to celebrate enthusiastically the freedoms we enjoy and the many individuals and organizations that contribute to make Orinda a wonderful place to live.”
Announcer Scott Butler added, “It’s been a pleasure working with Steve and Bill on the parade since 2016. A great event, under superb leadership, and truly the best hometown parade in America.”
Bill Cosden, an announcer for decades as well, felt grateful to lend his voice once again.
“I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed a 25-year joyful ride with my best pal, Steve Harwood, providing PA announcing and music, along with his state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment,” said Cosden. “The highlight is being able to work with a wonderful group of creative and talented people. That, combined with seeing the delight the parade brings entrants and Lamorinda residents and visitors, is as good as it gets; priceless, actually.”
Bobbie Dodson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.