I have never been ‘IN’ the Novato July 4th parade before. A few times I was there, I was a bystander, watching for my then young sons marching down Old Town Grant Avenue as part of Novato Summer Music Institute Marching Band. It was fun watching them, but I had never be IN one before.
Yesterday, I got the taste of actually being in the Parade while riding the truck with the Penguin Empire Robotics Team (San Marin High School Robotics Club). I have to say that it was a lot of fun riding with the students, pretending that I was helping (yes, they knew exactul what to do). and waving to the bystanders (now that I am in it, I might as well enjoy the parade!)
The parade drew record entries and recrod crowds – presumably the difficutl economy kept a lot of people home during the summer; but being in Marin for the summer can not really be considered a hardship, I have to say.
There were over 200 entries; including the perennial entry of fleet of antique tanks and military vehicles (a private collection, can you believe that?), basset hound parade and they are very serious about that (yes, hundreds of them and their proud owners – brings smile to my face everytime I think about that), MY personal favorite is the Pini Hardware Plunger Brigade, this year, with an automatic toilet built by Penguin Empire adviser Mike Sousa (I think Pini Hardware did the garbage can routine one year), many student groups – the Novato Summer Institute, Five Charming Lads from San Marin, San Marin Jazz Choir, Marin Summer Theater, Novato Unified School District, Various Novato schools and Novato School Fuel thanking Novato for passing Measure A+ for Kids campaign, dace clubs, Taken do clubs, anti-tax protesters, archers, musketeers, Coast Guard Strike Team, and much more.
It’s also fun to see so many friends and neighbors out there watching and enjoying the parade. Novato, a town of 50K+ population, a lay-back and very friendly town can seem so small and personal where we seem to know everyone and care about everybody!
Oh, not to forget about the Penguin Empire Team – the students did great and the crowds were awed by the awesome robot whenever we stop (we did stop a lot more than we were allowed to). The students remotely controlled the robot, drove it down the ramp, made some tight turns, performed a couple of routines (unfortunately, due to the crowd, we were not able to show the full potential of the robot) and drove it back up the float. The crowds were quite enthusiastic about the robot and the team 🙂
Here are a few picturs to share with you (Sorry, I was too busy to be IN the parade and did not have time to take as many picturers as I have liked!):
And the Parade is not complete without the viewers cheering us on!