Blanchard Library (top left photo) won the “Most Animated” award. Leading the library contingent are Board President Suzi Skutley (front left) and Board member Beverly Mueller (right). The Santa Paula Family Resource Center’s Poder Popular (top right) took the award for “Most Original” entry. The Grand Marshals for this year’s parade were Joyce and Dr. Ernest “Ernie” Carlson (center photo). The “Best of Theme” award went to Brokaw Nursery (bottom left), and Local #585 of the Laborers International Union of North America (bottom right) was given an award for having the most participants. (Photos by Brian D. Wilson)

Labor Day Parade: Hour-long procession celebrates the meaning of the holiday

September 05, 2008
Organizer says it was a“perfect day” for a parade
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesAn hour-long procession of men, women and children brought cheers from the crowded sidewalks as Santa Paula marked Labor Day with a high-stepping Main Street parade celebrating those who work. Monday’s parade featured chanting labor unions, farm workers, the Rotary Club’s Pumpkin Patch catapult, Santa Paula firefighters and police, businesses and organizations.Dozen of members of Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 585 chanted “Everywhere we go, people want to know who we are. We tell them: We are the union... the mighty, mighty union!” which brought strong applause from parade-watchers.Perfect Santa Paula weather and the significance of the holiday made the parade the place to be to see work represented. De Colores Art Group showed that artists work, too, and Latino Town Hall demonstrated that community support also falls into the labor category.Color Guard the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Condor Chapter of Ventura County and the Santa Paula High School Band preceded Parade Grand Marshals Joyce and Dr. Ernest “Ernie” Carlson, who have made working for the community - both global and local - a lifelong priority. City Councilman John Procter rode with the Santa Paula Citizens Corps Council in Santa Paula Fire Department’s vintage Mack fire engine, and Colonel George Compton, who heads up the Ventura County Veterans Services, saluted the crowd from a military Jeep.Unions were well represented by members of the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 484, Santa Paula Federation of Teachers 2071, American Postal Workers Union, including those who process mail for the 93060 area code, and the California School Employees Association Chapter 497. They were joined by Santa Paula High School cheerleaders and the Santa Paula Elementary School District, among others.And there were plenty of fun entries showing unusual forms of work, such as Rozzi and the Citrus Capital Clowns and the Reptile Family. The latter entry demonstrated that even scaly creatures work - work the crowd that is, which was delighted by the show.The Santa Paula Ministerial Association’s “Working Families are Homeless, Too” was a somber reminder that not all can hold on to the American dream. Santa Paula General Dentistry’s Dr. Raul Reyes had T.G. D-Bear and Toothy the Tooth with them, and the Santa Paula Family Resource Center’s Poder Popular showed an array of working families.Dogs were the co-stars of the Century 21 Buena Vista “Specialists in Housekeeping” entry, and the streets were filled by the Unbelievable Bike Club’s sweet custom rides, sponsored by Exotic City Empire.
Brokaw Nursery had a team of enthusiastic farm workers, and Santa Paula Chevrolet had a long line of their workhorses - tow trucks. Athenna Crosby, the newly crowned National Association Miss Jr. Pre-Teen, showed that “tweeners” rule, and Progressive Land Management played off on the traditional Labor Day activity, the backyard BBQ.Our Lady of Guadalupe featured a bevy of beauties vying for the title of Mexican Independence Day Queen - as well as the present Her Majesty - and Limoneira Company showcased office workers, lemon sorters, pickers and pruners, as well as farm equipment. Heritage Valley ARC CEO Fred Robinson helped show off the organization’s mobile carwash, and Blanchard Community Library employees and trustees - including President Suzi Skutley - showed that reading and working go hand in hand.The kids and principals of Colborn & Associates proudly rode in a restored 1932 Model B flatbed, the Topa Topa Flywheelers had a healthy procession of agricultural equipment used in bygone days, and Santa Paula Hospital employees showed they continue to work hard at the Hospital on the Hill.“It was a perfect day for a parade,” Audrey Vincent, a Labor Day Parade Committee member said later. “People affirmed this by lining the streets to watch as entries streamed by.”Vincent said the committee wants to thank “each and every one of you for your attendance and your participation,” and noted that the mission of the parade, to bring together the community to celebrate the many contributions made by working people “to our lives and wellbeing” as well as “to recognize the value and dignity of all honest labor, was fully realized.”Judging the 2008 Labor Day Parade entries were Paul Skeels, Josie Herrera, and Celia Miranda. Trophy winners were: Most Participants - Local #585 of the Laborers International Union of North America; Most Animated - Blanchard Community Library; Most Original - Poder Popular; Best of Theme - Brokaw Nursery.Vincent noted the parade committee is already looking toward Labor Day 2009. “The parade invites us all to think about and value the work we and others do and consider what work that has yet to be represented in the parade could be included next year.”

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