Sun Turns On at San Clemente Summer Fiesta

Times Staff Writer

Strands of 3-year-old Carolyn Masson’s blonde hair flew about wildly as she held hands with her mother, Brigitte, and danced to the tunes of the San Juan Creek Bluegrass Band. Soon they were surrounded by a circle of dancing, laughing children.

It was the 34th annual Summer Fiesta in San Clemente, and about 3,000 people showed up Saturday for the 90-minute parade and the street fair and revelry that followed it.

The sunny, clear sky and high temperature of 68 in San Clemente came as a relief after days of clouds and drizzling rain. A Saturday low of 60 in Newport Beach gave way to a midday high of 65. In Santa Ana the high was 77 and the low was 58.


Slightly warmer temperatures are expected today, with the National Weather Service forecasting lows in the upper 50s and highs to the low 70s along the coast and low 80s inland. Surf along Orange County’s beaches is expected to be four to five feet today.

In San Clemente, two blocks along Avenida Del Mar were blocked off Saturday as a crowd made up mostly of families strolled from El Camino Real to Calle Seville. A dozen food booths operated by volunteer and civic organizations sold hot dogs, barbecue, cotton candy and other snacks.

Lisa Drake, 3, of San Clemente, hugged a blue teddy bear she won playing at one of a dozen game booths. She had rolled six rubber balls down a tray into six numbered slots to score more than 30 points.

“I did it all by myself,” said Lisa, standing beside her mother, Liz Drake, who had come away from the game empty-handed.

Ashish Sudra, 8, of Van Nuys picked up a stuffed dinosaur at the same booth and later knocked a San Clemente police officer into the water while playing Dunk a Cop.

San Clemente Police Officer Russ Moore said he didn’t mind the catcalls and cold water because the $1 paid for each softball thrown in his direction went to support charities sponsored by the San Clemente Police Officers Assn.


“I’m having a good time, and the people are having fun,” Moore said. “I know most of them. I arrested most of them at one time or another. This was their chance to get even.”

Colored Cheeks

Face painting by supporters of the Cabrillo Playhouse left brightly colored rainbows, flowers and balloons on many cheeks. Dana Smith, 5, chose balloons to adorn her face, while her sister, Mimi, 3, picked a rainbow.

Their father, Rick Smith, a 34-year old termite inspector from San Clemente, said he and his wife, Jaymie, had brought their two daughters to the Fiesta for the second year in a row because “I like to see everybody out here smiling and laughing.”

An empty dog collar and leash were held rigidly aloft by San Clemente Fire Chief Tom Dailey, who was wearing an old-fashioned red firefighter’s hat and hobo garb. Dailey, who won in the “most professional” category in the Crazy Hat Contest, explained his unorthodox garb by saying, “Some of us working for the Fire Department, both volunteer and full time, have a clown act. We march in the parade and then come down here to walk around.

“The kids have a good time petting my dog Spot--who, in case you haven’t noticed, is a Dalmatian.”

At least two vendors were selling “Ollie (North) for President” T-shirts. Jack Babcock of San Clemente said he had sold about 100 of the T-shirts, at $10 each, by early afternoon.


One of those proudly wearing his purchase was Joe Wing, a 56-year-old retired Los Angeles Police Department detective now living in San Clemente.

“Ollie presented himself (during the Iran-Conra hearings in Washington) like a hero would, and I believe in what he stands for,” Wing said.

Larger Crowds

At the beaches Saturday, the sunshine brought out crowds dramatically larger than those of previous days.

At Huntington City Beach, a lifeguard spokesman said 45,000 sun worshipers crowded onto the sand, about three times as many as in the previous few days.

Richard Rozzelle, a lifeguard at Huntington Beach State Beach, said 15,000 people showed up Saturday. “We would have had more, but a lot of them were scared away by the clouds we’d been having,” Rozzelle said.

At Laguna Beach, the clouds cleared by 9 a.m., drawing about 30,000 to the sand, lifeguard Matt Wesner said.