Novato, California, the north-most town of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, celebrates July the 4th with, among other activities, a July 4th parade through old town Novato.
The parade has steadily gained fan and momentum over the years; with the town growth and community involvement, has become a local attraction when celebrating July 4th. This year, being the 50th Anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Novato, anticipation is even higher 🙂
Between 8-11AM, the local Presbyterian Churchoffers their infamous Buckaroo Breakfast (2010 will be their 57th year doing this) with proceeds benefiting a Novato community mission project, such as Homeward Bound, Novato Human Needs, or Marin Food Bank. A place to gather, get some comfort, yummy breakfast; and say Hi to your friends and neighbors!
I had never be ‘IN’ the Novato July 4th parade before until the parade last year, 2009. A few times whenI went to the parade, 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.
Last year, 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 (they knew exactly what to do). and waving to the bystanders (now that I am in it, might as well enjoy the parade!)
The parade drew record entries and record crowds. Presumably the difficult economy kept a lot of people home during the summer; but being in Marin for the summer can not be considered a hardship, I have to say; and the 4th July parade reinforced the hometown feeling of being in this beautiful town.
The parade had 200+ entries and celebrated the many facets of Novato: The ones who protects us so we can be safe – WWII Surviing Veterans, Marine Corp Color Guard, Air force airplane flyover, Pacific Coast Guard, Novato Fire, Novato Police; Our Future Manyy student groups – the Novato Summer Music 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, …..
and many other special interest groups:
Politicians or politician wanna-bes; the Peace Group with Cranes representing lost lives in wars: the perennial entry of fleet of antique tanks and military vehicles (a private collection by the owner of Marin Sanitary, Joe Garbarino’s WWII Military Museum), Bushmills Irish Pipers band of San Francisco, Petaluma Riding and Driving Club Senior Drill Team, A 3-Plane Fly over, Basset hound parade (yes, hundreds of them and their proud owners; the bystanders thought they are awfully cute), the horses and owners (Novato is famous for our horse properties in Indian Valley, Vineyard, Atherton, green point, black point).
MY personal favorite, other than the Pengium Empire float, of course, is the Pini Hardware Plunger Brigade, last year, with an automatic toilet built by Penguin Empire adviser Mike Sousal. Pini Hardware did a garbage can dance one year which was very cute seeing those big man dancing :-). (Pini Hardware is a small local hardware store famous for personalized attention. Novato waged a war against Home Depot moving into town because of Pini Hardware, and the big box shop blinked – Novatans are good at keeping the town away from big corporations); anti-tax protesters, archers, musketeers, Coast Guard Strike Team, and many more groups.
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 and care about everybody! I was busy waving at my friends the whole time.
Oh, not to forget about the Penguin Empire Team – the students did great and the crowd were awed by the awesome robot whenever we stop. The students remotely controlled the robot, drove it down the ramp, 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 pictures to share with you; many are courtesy of Nvato Advance and some are my own collection – sorry, I was too busy to be IN the parade, and did not take as many pictures as I would have liked!
Before pictures from 2009 Parade, I’d like to share with you a pictures from the Novato History Museum collection:
Yes, this is the Novato July 4th Parade in 1908 (102 years prior)!!!
Waiting and Positioning
Marine Color Guard
The Novato Fire – kids love the Fire Engines and we love them, especially with the dry, high fire summers in California!
Pearl Harbor Survivors
San Marin Pengium Empire Robotics Team (I sit behind the Igloo). The float won one of the first place awards.
Marin Summer Theater – 2009 Cast. 2010 Shows are Chicago, Rosencrantx & Guildenstern Are Dead and An Enchanged Evening
The Peace Parade with cranes representing lost lives during wars
The Pini Hardware Plunger Dance and an automatic Toilet Flush
St. Marys Chinese Girl Drum and Bell Dance
You got it! Basset Hound Parades
WWII Military Museum
Novato Summer Music with Mr. Jason Eckl
Antique Farm Tractor
Fun Salon Worker
Pacific Coast Guard Strike Team
I will be with the Penguim Empire Float again this year, but look forward to sharing some pictures from the 2010 Novato July 4th Parade with you!
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