Albino Pineda, this year's Santa Paula Labor Day Parade Grand Marshal waves to the crowd as he leads the parade along Main Street. A large crowd greeted Mr. Pineda and all the parade entries that were honoring the worker on Labor Day. Photo by Don johnson

Events make for busy Labor Day weekend

September 08, 2006
Celebration of Working People: Annual Labor Day Parade draws huge crowd
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesIt was time to strike up the band and recognize those who work hard for their money during a “Celebration of Working People,” Santa Paula’s 2nd Annual Labor Day Parade that drew a huge enthusiastic audience. The parade, the only one held in Ventura County, filled Main Street with a diverse group of participants, including Santa Paula Airport aviators that began the march with a fly over.Bruce Dickenson, Roger Orr and Michael Terry were each at the controls of vintage Howards that kept the eyes of the crowd on the sky until the parade stepped out with a special Color Guard of Mercer-Prieto VFW 2043 and Korean War Veterans of Ventura County Chapter 56 members. Also receiving a rousing welcome were members of the 187th Airborne, the most decorated unit in American history.Santa Paula Police and Fire personnel also took part in the parade, showing off a variety of vehicles as well as K-9 Evan, partner to SPPD Sr. Officer Jimmy Fogata. Grand Marshal Albino Pineda - honored for his community activism and spearheading the drive to create a Farmworkers Monument - was accompanied by his wife Lidia.Councilmembers Dr. Gabino Aguirre, Mary Ann Krause and John Procter opted to wave at the crowd from the back of a snazzy truck provided by Ford of Santa Paula. Receiving a grand hurrah was the Santa Paula Hospital entry that appeared just months after the Hospital on the Hill was reopened as an arm of the Ventura County Medical Center.Farmworkers dominated numerous entries, including Brokaw Nursery, Progressive Land Management, Mission Produce and Limoneira, in tributes to those who keep the Santa Clara River Valley green and yellow with avocados and citrus. Santa Paula Rotary - with the City of Santa Paula a parade co-sponsor - had a marching entry, while Rotarian Roy Wilson Jr. followed, towing a faux granite floating ball.Dozens of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members wearing their distinctive green vests and helmets passed out fliers on upcoming community disaster response events. Rozzi the Clown (AKA Darleen Berry) rode the parade out in her impressive polka dot car, the Topa Topa Flywheelers showed that old farm equipment has plenty of charm, and the Toyland Train - owned by Joe and Taira Garces - contained smiling, waving kids.The Santa Paula High School Cardinal Marching Band offered a brassy interlude and residents cheered on their cheerleader and football favorites. The Santa Paula Ministerial Association was both spiritual and spirited, and several automotive entries showed why new cars can’t compare to the antiques and classics. Pamela’s and Gonzalez Jewelry as well as Santa Paula Chevrolet represented other local businesses.The Reptile Family of Ventura County wore dark armbands to honor the memory of the Crocodile Hunter Steven Irwin and got up close and personal with the crowd to show off an array of lizards and snakes.
The Labor Day Parade’s celebration of working people included SEIU Local 998, SPESD Federation of Teachers, California School Employees’ Association of Santa Paula, Utility Workers Local 132 and Communication Workers of America Local 9575, among others, showing solidarity.The celebration was continued at the Gazebo, the parade’s end, where trophies were handed out to those deemed the best by judges Robert Borrego, Joyce Carlson and Carmen Guerrero. Most Original Entry was awarded to the Santa Paula CERT; the SPHS Marching Band was honored for Most Participants; Most Animated was the workout team of Santa Paula Health & Fitness; Limoneira Co. - which had numerous vehicles and workers entered - took the top prize for Best Use of Theme; and Honorable Mention went to the Santa Paula Airport Aviators that opened the parade with the fly over.“I’m happy, it was a real nice turnout,” said Joanne Wright, who organized the parade with Dr. Dora Crouch, Audrey Vincent and Anita Pulido. “It’s been my privilege and a lot of fun to be part of this.”Peter Wright noted that the parade was “four times bigger than last year” and even garnered attention from Los Angeles-based Channel 9 television news. “Roy’s floating granite ball was a nice touch... and a surprise for us!”The Gazebo post-parade celebration featured entertainment by The Merry Blacksmiths and Gale Graham & Raspberry Jam.For information on purchasing DVDs of the parade contact Bree Watson, 525-0930, or

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