By Pat KRAMER
On the 4th of July, Sunland-Tujunga residents will assemble along Foothill Boulevard to watch one of the best (and only) Independence Day parades in the area. With 80-plus entries, including floats, marching bands, riders on horseback, antique cars and local organizations carrying banners, the one-mile parade route from Vons in Tujunga to Sunland Park is a glorious display of local pride.
The Sunland-Tujunga-Shadow Hills Rotary Club is the force behind the parade each year and has been overseeing it for almost 40 years said Sabrina Godinez, president of the local Rotary Club.
“Each year, our parade gets longer as local groups and organizations rally to celebrate our nation’s birthday,” Godinez said.
In past years, the parade has included the different veterans groups, local, state and national dignitaries, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Verdugo Hills High School baseball team with Coach Angel Espindola, the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, the VHHS marching band and cheerleaders, LAPD and LAFD, service organizations, local churches, dance academies and, most notably, the “oldest rock in Tujunga.”
“We expect 10,000-plus people to turn out for this year’s 4th of July parade,” said Godinez who noted that this year, the grand marshal will be local resident Brian Schneider. He was selected due to his activism in the community including coordinating cleanups of the Tujunga Wash and writing his CD7 open letter to city officials on safety issues.
To prepare for the 4th of July parade, the police will be closing down Foothill Boulevard along the parade route starting at 9 a.m. The parade begins at 10 a.m. with a flyover by Los Angeles Police Dept. helicopters. This year, the LAPD Motorcycle Drill Team will also be joining the parade.
“To get them to participate,” said Godinez, “we had to put in a special request; we are very lucky to have them join us this year.”
LAPD Sergeant Ojeda of Foothill Division Area Community Relations is in charge of the overall safety and traffic arrangements for the parade.
The parade will last for approximately 90 minutes, ending at Sunland Park. At that point, the streets will be opened again.
Later that evening, the gates open at 5 p.m. at Verdugo Hills High School in anticipation of the 9 p.m. fireworks show, which takes place in the stadium at 10625 Plainview Ave. in Tujunga. The Sunland-Tujunga Shadow Hills Community Fireworks Festival, a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization, runs the festival each year. Admission is $8 with free admission to children under 30″ tall. The proceeds benefit Youth Arts and Athletic Programs at local schools.
Since there will not be any fireworks this year at Hansen Dam, attendance is expected to be high. Those attending are encouraged to arrive early with their lawn chairs and picnic baskets to listen to the patriotic music performed by local artists and bands and to enjoy an evening out with their neighbors at this year’s Sunland-Tujunga Family Fireworks event. For more information, please visit www.sunlandtujungafireworks.com or www.stnc.org.