After nearly two decades at the helm of Burbank on Parade, its
organizers have decided to call it quits, claiming a lack of
cooperation on the part of the city, which subsidizes the annual
Parade board members announced their decision to “cease organizing
and conducting” the April parade effective Nov. 18 in a letter to
city officials, a copy of which was obtained by the Leader.
“We have come to this decision after 22 years of successful and
enjoyable celebrations for several reasons, one of which is lack of
support,” the letter stated. “Ironically, many of the obstacles we
faced throughout the years came from city departments who were
responsible for ‘assisting’ us, specifically Licensing and Park and
Recreation, who found more ways to hinder us rather than help us
accomplish our objectives.”
City Manager Mary Alvord and Vice Mayor Marsha Ramos reacted with
surprise and disappointment at the letter, which reached City Hall on
Tuesday. Both said they would be willing to sit down with the board
to discuss the allegations, but need more facts.
“I am completely surprised, because I had no knowledge that they
were even thinking about [this],” Ramos said late Tuesday.
Alvord, meanwhile, fired back at board members, who met with her
Nov. 3 to discuss their intentions. At the time, she said, members
spoke of “burnout” and other issues mostly unrelated to claims made
in the letter as reasons for stepping down.
“What upsets me at this point is what was portrayed to me a couple
of weeks ago is very different from what I’m hearing about now,” said
Alvord, referring to the letter. “When they finally publicly announce
[their decision], a lot of this is about casting blame at the city
when in fact, I think, we have worked very hard to make the parade a
success at substantial monetary cost to the city.”
Parade founder Sandy Dennis and fellow board member Dennis Hooper
initially declined to comment on the specifics of their decision to
disband. When pressed about the details of the letter, they remained
“The people who have organized the parade have made their
decision,” Dennis said Tuesday. “We encourage a group who would like
to take it over. We are happy to work with any group or the city who
would like to do it.”
Hooper, meanwhile, said the city has requested a meeting to
discuss “specific problems with the licensing and park and rec
department,” but said such talks likely won’t save the 2004 parade.
“Nope, because it’s too late to get it started,” he said. “We
would be well into planning the parade by now if we were going to do
it next year.”
A separate letter, signed by the parade board of directors and
including the names and e-mail addresses of City Council members, was
e-mailed to the Leader on Monday for publication.
“We feel it is the best interest of those of you who have
supported the event to let you know this decision as soon as
possible,” the letter stated. “If you would like to see this event
continue, we strongly suggest you contact the members of the Burbank
City Council. Without input from the community and given the current
budget situation, this event may just go away.”
The April parade -- which travels along Olive Avenue from Keystone
to Lomita streets -- features city officials, youth bands and drill
teams, equestrian entries and representatives from local
“It’s not the Tournament of Roses, but it is what our community is
about,” Alvord said of the parade. “We have to look at all sides of
the issues, and we’re willing to do that. Certainly, we will be a
part of that dialogue to keep it alive.”
The city, which appropriated $15,000 for last year’s parade,
provides additional support from the police, public works, and park,
recreation and community services departments. Approximately $13,500
has been budgeted for April’s parade -- a 10% reduction over last
year -- but the money remains in city hands, city officials said.
Don Baldaseroni, a board member who serves on the transportation
and hospitality committees, is among those who won’t continue
organizing the parade. Baldaseroni also volunteers his time with
other community groups, including the Burbank Historical Society,
Burbank Heritage Commission and the Road Kings.
“I have a lot on my plate,” he said. “The parade is an
institution. It just gets harder to get people involved.”
Joyce Rudolph contributed
to this report.