For the grand marshal of this year’s Fourth of July Parade, the memories are countless and unforgettable — and many are well-documented.
But he’s perhaps most looking forward to the ones he’ll make this year.
That’s because for Fred Trueblood III, whose family owned The Signal from 1938-62 — the family’s patriarch purchased the paper back then for $4,000, a king’s ransom at the time — the highlight is going to be riding along up front with his 6-year-old grandson Hunter Hothan.
The day remains as it was during Trueblood’s childhood, a daylong Santa Clarita Fourth of July celebration chock full of events, although there have been some tweaks over the years.
“When we were kids, in our family the Fourth was the biggest day of the year,” Trueblood, 71, said Tuesday. “Even bigger than Christmas, because people didn’t have a lot of money in those days — but on the Fourth, there was a parade in the morning, and then people would go over to Newhall Park.”
The area where the Newhall office for the Boys & Girls Club now sits hosted an afternoon carnival — “Well, we called it a ‘carnival,’” Trueblood said with a laugh, “but there were no rides and you could win a goldfish that always died before you got home.”
In the afternoon, a big barbecue in Placerita Canyon was hosted by Saxonia Park, which belonged to a German club, Trueblood said. It was leased out to the Lions Club that hosted the event.
“And then after that, people would go over to (Hart High School), they would sit on the football field and watch the fireworks — it was the greatest day of the year.”
In the past, Trueblood has been an announcer and co-host for the parade, due in part to his wealth of area knowledge; this year, the broadcast duties will be shared by Dave Caldwell, spokesman for the William S. Hart Union High School District, and Tami Edwards, who’s co-hosted the last few broadcasts for SCVTV.
Edwards’ favorite memories of the parade remain from her childhood, she said: She remembers doing cartwheels down Main Street as the parade route moved through town, as part of the Gymnastics Unlimited group.
Trueblood’s mother, Bobbi Trueblood Davis, who died in December at age 93, is the honoree of this year’s parade. Her connection to the annual tradition, which at one point was known as “Bobbi’s parade,” is renowned. There were at least a couple times when she rallied the local populace, somewhat ironically as an immigrant from England, who insisted the show must go on, in 1955 and then again in 1973, according to stories available on SCVHistory.com.
“Even at my age today, the Fourth of July is still the greatest day of the year; just so much happens, and there are really moving expressions of patriotism,” Trueblood said.
And while celebrating America’s past and independence are the major components of the day, it’d be hard to argue the importance of the day’s events for the next generation of patriots.
“Every Fourth of July something happens that touches your heart from America and Americans who’ve contributed to this country,” Trueblood said. “(Hunter) will remember this for the rest of his life, like I did. Maybe this little moment will influence him later on in his life, like it influenced me.”