The city of Santa Clarita took its Fourth of July celebrations on the road Sunday, touring the SCV to visit some local residents at home as part of the city’s Patriotic Tour.
For the second year, the Santa Clarita City Council and official SCV Fourth of July Parade judges hopped on a city trolley decked out with American flags and streamers to visit the three finalists in the city’s house decorating contest, who were then awarded first, second and third place.
“I think it’s outstanding because what we’re doing is reaching out to the community — they’re not coming to us, we’re going to them, and that’s awesome,” Mayor Bill Miranda said.
The tour began at City Hall, where members of the SCV Veterans Center — the winners of the Sweepstakes Award for the city’s Pee-Wee Parade, in which participants competed to create the best-designed miniature parade floats — were presented their certificate and prize for winning.
The float consisted of at least 50 Lego people made to resemble some of the SCV’s local veterans, including members of the SCV Veterans Collaborative Services, who run the center.
Veteran Center Volunteer Patti Ryan spent hours hand-painting each Lego, a task she considers a “labor of love.”
“It’s all about the veterans, so I was excited to do that,” Ryan said, tearing up as she explained her inspiration for the float, which included a number of local veterans who’d died.
The Veteran Center plans to raffle off its prize, a dining certificate to Salt Creek Grille, to a local veteran, with veterans able to come by the center to place their name in a jar for the drawing.
All aboard the patriotic trolley
At City Hall, three pint-sized grand marshals — Serenity Russell, 6; Blake Gregory, 4; and Bradley Wood, 3 — also joined the tour decked out in their Fourth of July best.
“It’s cool,” Serenity said of her grand marshal duties, which were a close second to the city’s annual parade.
Along with her Americana apparel, Serenity was sporting a crown and sash, as she’d recently won the title of Miss Elementary America (First Grade) with her win in Little Rock, Arkansas.
She and her fellow grand marshals waved at passing cars as the tour commenced and enjoyed a picnic lunch provided by the Old Town Newhall Farmers Market.
The first stop was to third-place winner Steffanie Siebrand, whose home featured flags, banners and even an Americana-inspired arch.
Next, the tour headed to Canyon Country, where the Woodworth family’s home had red, white and blue banners and decor hanging from their balcony and front shrubbery.
The second-place-winning home was decorated primarily by Jane Woodworth and her 11-year-old daughter, Harper, with decorations they’d either collected through the years or gotten creative to make themselves, such as fireworks out of pool floaties and PVC pipe.
The Woodworth home also featured three Pee-Wee Parade float submissions, including a detailed Statue of Liberty that Harper made herself.
The tour culminated at J.C. and Celia Mejia’s decked-out home, where Americana decor covered almost every inch of the two-story house and front lawn.
“My mother and (Celia) always have the design, and then I’m the one who executes it,” J.C. Mejia said. “They have these amazing ideas, and it’s so hard to (make it come to life).”
Mejia was successful, though, as along with more American flags than the eye could see, banners and streamers was a “land of the free, home of the brave” banner that covered the garage door and a fountain he made sporting American flags.
“Last year, we entered just by coincidence,” Mejia said, adding that they typically decorate for every holiday and were only told about the competition after they’d already decked out their home in their typical fashion.
But after the Mejias placed second last year, they were excited to step it up to take home the win this year.
“To think that the No. 1 winner was a runner-up last year and dedicated their family to making it even better so they could win this year was awesome,” Miranda added.
Participants must be veterans to register for the Veteran Center’s drawing. The center, located at 23222 Lyons Ave. in Newhall, is open for submissions to the drawing 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with the drawing set to be held noon on Monday, July 12. For more information, call the center at 661-753-3559.