Judy Clarke has lived in Coronado for all of eight or nine years. But she’s been attending the Crown City’s Fourth of July parade for nearly 20, she said Wednesday. And this year she took part as a parade judge.
“It’s one of the things that drew us to Coronado—the small-town atmosphere,” she said from the grassy median near the parade’s origin at First Street and Orange Avenue—and a block or two from her home.
Her verdict on the 2012 edition?
She liked it for being “more compact,” Clarke said. “Some of them get to be very, very long.”
As it turned out, Wednesday’s parade—starting a little after 10 a.m. with the theme “America’s People”—lasted a little over 2 hours.
It was Coronado in all its Crown City glory as Star Wars fans and Middle Ages knights, Pearl Harbor survivors and politicians drew laughs, cheers and—in the case of war veterans—countless "Thank you’s” from a Fourth of July crowd that lined Orange Avenue from First to Churchill Place.
Under cloudy skies with a misty kiss, the parade proceeded south.
Canines dressed to the holiday max mixed with clowns (planting plastic flowers in the droppings of equestrian units), and a bagpipe band played service anthems.
Among the many military units was a living re-enactment of the World War II flag-raising on Iwo Jima, with men frozen in place the entire 1.5-mile route.
Riding a bike and bringing up the rear was Paulette Szymanski, a 2011 graduate of Coronado High School.
Her grandfather, Andy, chairs the Coronado 4th of July Committee and her uncle, David, is parade chairman. Other family members have leadership roles as well.
“It’s my family’s favorite holiday," said Paulette, 19, wearing an orange vest. “We do this [organizing of the parade] every year. It’s a great thing to be a part of, and to give to the city.
“It's extremely fulfilling, but it’s very tiring by the end of the day.”
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