Thousands of local residents gathered in Downtown Newhall Thursday for the city of Santa Clarita’s annual Fourth of July Parade, which has been a tradition for more than 80 years.
This year’s parade theme was “The Signal Century: Celebrating Our Press Freedom,” which was chosen in honor of The Signal’s 100th anniversary. Signal owners Richard and Chris Budman served as grand marshals.
Parade Chair Linda Storli said prior to Thursday’s festivities that the city’s parade is an amazing way to help kids understand what the Fourth of July is about — patriotism, not just fireworks and hot dogs.
“We have even been described as the largest small-town parade in America,” she added.
Members of local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops were the first to march down Main Street Thursday as they passed out flags, glasses and other Fourth of July-themed gifts to the crowd that appeared to stretch on for eternity.
Onlookers immediately began to cheer and applaud the veterans who followed and were representing the nation’s various military branches.
The procession would continue for about 90 minutes as Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies, members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, political candidates, elected representatives and even local athletic teams rode in on horseback, classic cars and customized floats as thousands of onlookers lined Main Street and Lyons Avenue to enjoy the celebration.
Some of the spectators on hand drove from as far as Riverside to attend, and more than a few residents enjoyed their first time at the city’s Independence Day parade.
Diego and Denise Rodriguez, a pair of siblings who were in attendance for the first year, said after the celebration that they were glad they made it out because they were able to see so many classic cars.
Diego and Denise’s mother, Robin Rodriguez, said she came to the parade last year to support the cheer and dance teams, but she decided to make it a tradition.
“It’s perfect, really, because it gives you that hometown feeling that I love,” Rodriguez said. “You see different floats and, now, once we get our little cheerleader back, we can go home, barbecue, look up at some fireworks and enjoy the rest of the day.”Once all of the entries had completed their route down Main Street, residents began packing up minutes before a magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocked the area.