PLEASANT HILL, CA (July 4, 2023) — Americana in all its glory was on full display as the parade marking the most American of holidays, the 4th of July, wound its way through the streets and downtown of Pleasant Hill.
Symbols of Old Glory were everywhere to be seen from the scout troops color guards holding high the Stars and Stripes to tiny versions being handed out to smiling and clapping parade goers waiting two- and three-deep along area parade routes.
Red, white, and blue bunting, bows, balloons, flowers, and ribbon adorned most every fresh-washed vehicle of the four-, three-, and two-wheel varieties, from the early Model T era to the sleek 1960s sports cars, as well as the mid-20th century motor classics produced on the American assembly lines of Detroit, Michigan, and motorcycles that slowly made their ways along the routes.
Slices of simple town pleasures were not in short supply either. From the Boy Scouts, Trail Life, Girl Scouts and Heritage Girls, all in full uniform dress, who turned out to walk and even come by canoe to proudly represent their organizations, to teams and youngsters representing the youth baseball and football programs, and even the education community including College Park High led by its cheerleaders and teachers of Gregory Garden Elementary.
Bikes, beauty queens and fire fighters
What’s a parade without bikes, bikes, and more kids’ bikes, all decorated in full patriotic regalia perfectly displayed for the day, as well as a beauty queen with her hand waving in perfect rhythm to the applause as she rode in an equally stylish vehicle.
Also featured prominently were Veterans of Foreign Wars, first responders from the police department, Contra Costa County Fire District, and members of the California Highway Patrol, as well as civil servants from the city’s recreation department and representatives of volunteer service organizations like CERT, Rotary and Lions that drove, rolled, and walked along waving to appreciative residents for all the work they do.
And no parade is complete without hearing the clippety-clop of horses and seeing their mounts carrying the American flag symbolizing the nation’s independent and pioneer spirit that forged trails to the wide open spaces of the West (and those hardy souls charged with picking up after those noble steeds), a life-sized water droplet making its debut with the Contra Costa County Water District, a dancing grandmother hailing from a local Carlton nursing home and at least one clown strolling along the route to entertain parade watchers, especially the smallest of those in attendance, and, of course, local politicians smiling and reminding the citizenry who they are and that another election is probably around the corner.
Not to be forgotten was each piece of Americana, the plethora of candy treats and sweets that were rolled, handed out, and flung with abundance, prompting more than a few eager youngsters to go scurrying into the path of parade participants to ensure each and every treasured piece was successfully scooped for immediate and future consumption.
The Fourth of July parade, a symbol in its purest form of what America is, the opportunity to show pride in a hard-fought freedom and independence that was claimed by this nation’s forefathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, of all races and creeds, 246 years ago. Those sentiments will forever endure and the sacrifices won’t be forgotten.
David Scholz is back in journalism as a freelance writer and photographer after nearly two decades in education. Prior to moving into teaching in 2000, he worked as a full-time journalist since 1988 for rural community and small daily newspapers in Central Ohio and Northern Nevada, and later in California with The Business Journal in Fresno and dailies in the Bay Area, including The Oakland Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle. More recently Scholz also worked in an editing, writing, and page layout role with the Rossmoor News.