Monday, April 12, 2010

Parade article by Burbank Leader

Emily Roeske of Burbank Family Martial Arts is all smiles during the Burbank on Parade Celebrates the Big Top event Saturday on Olive Avenue. (Raul Roa/The Leader)

Parading through Burbank
Annual tradition since 1945 colors gray skies with ‘Big Top’ theme.

By Christopher Cadelago
Published: Last Updated Sunday, April 11, 2010 8:01 PM PDT

The big top rolled through town Saturday, saturating Burbank on Parade’s 29th annual street march in a wave of colors that breathed life into an overcast morning.

Burbank on Parade Celebrates the Big Top, this year’s iteration of an event that began in 1945, began with a 27-foot-wide circus tent and gave way to Grand Marshal Ronald McDonald.

The hamburger mascot waved from inside a 1926 Ford as hundreds of spectators lined Olive Avenue from Keystone to Lomita streets to take in the community celebration of floats, equestrian groups and public officials.

“What a spectacular opening,” said parade President Linda Barnes, noting that the big top was carried by entries chosen at the last minute. “What an honor for them.”

Mayor Gary Bric and wife Shelly Bric drew friendly whistles from their perch atop a Wells Fargo stagecoach, and the crowd cheered when the airplane portion of the award-winning “Barnyard Aces” float by the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. brought the parade to an end.

“It was a lot of fun,” Gary Bric said after climbing down from the stagecoach. “It looked like we had a large turnout this year, and I really want to thank the Burbank on Parade committee for year after year making this a worthwhile community event.”

A mob of clowns scattered among the usual marching bands and carloads of nonprofit organizations, while the Road Kings provided the classic automobiles that carried area dignitaries, including Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La CaƱada Flintridge).

Former City Manager Mary Alvord and former school board member Richard Raad provided the commentary.

Several residents who lined the parade route pitched lawn chairs and fanned out picnic blankets along the sidewalk. Mary and David Hansen brought along their 5-year-old son, Max, and his 3-year-old sister, Devon.

The family occupied a covered bus stop along the route, “just in case it rained,” Mary Hansen said. By the time the band from Burroughs High School belted by, the clouds had parted, and Max was ready to join the parade as a participant.

“Maybe next year,” said David Hansen, looking on as groups of Scouts and athletic organizations rode by.

Noticeably absent for many in the audience was the sound of marching bands. Because the parade has historically come later in the month, a handful of regular bands had already committed to other events, Barnes said.

But some of that gap was filled by the award-winning Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Marching Band and Drill Team, which has participated in this parade since 1986. Under the direction of Burbank Leader features editor Joyce Rudolph, the group is made up of alumni from Burbank and John Burroughs high schools who participated in band, drill team and auxiliary units.

Mackenzie and Makayla Claxton, both 5, said it was their first parade — except, “the ones at Disneyland.”

“We like all the ponies,” Makayla said. “And the music,” Mackenzie added.

Some store owners who opened their doors early and offered discounts or free fare gathered on the sidewalks.

Perhaps the most well-known of those storekeepers is Otto Jensen, who for decades has offered photography for business and industry from his studio at 1320 W. Olive Ave.

Jensen, 99, stood outside the shop and snapped photos.

“I got all kinds of pictures,” Jensen said, adding that he tends not to stray too far from his home and studio. He eats lunch and plays pool across the street at the Joslyn Adult Center.

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