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Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade canceled due to coronavirus

Tom Joliet, leader of the Laguna Beach Senior Strumming and Strolling ukelele band, parades down Forest Avenue in 2015.
Tom Joliet, leader of the Laguna Beach Senior Strumming and Strolling ukelele band, parades down Forest Avenue during the 49th annual Patriots Day Parade in downtown Laguna Beach on March 7, 2015.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The 2021 Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The parade committee made the determination that the event could not take place after holding out hope beyond the normal planning schedule. The parade is held annually on the first Saturday of March.

“We usually plan it starting in September, and so we held off until almost mid-October hoping things would change, but it’s the virus,” parade entry chairwoman Sandi Werthe said. “Can’t have social gatherings, school bands aren’t practicing, so you can’t have a parade without music.”

The pandemic has made its presence felt on similar Southern California traditions. Fourth of July celebrations were modified. Huntington Beach brought the “OneHB Neighborhood Parade” to residents by traveling throughout the city. Precautions such as delaying the release of the parade route until the morning of the event were taken to prevent gathering.

On July 15, the 132nd Tournament of Roses Parade was also canceled because of the coronavirus.

The 55th Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade has been rescheduled for March 5, 2022.

“We’ll see how things go in a year, but that’s what our hope is,” Werthe said. “It would be number 55, and I’d hate to have to cancel that. I think a lot of traditions in town maybe won’t come back if this continues for a long time, so we don’t want our parade to end.”

Sometimes, timing is everything. Werthe said she felt fortunate to have had the parade take place in 2020, saying, “That was the last big event in town.”

“The year before, we had to cancel because of the rain, so we had to honor the 2019 honorees in our 2020 parade,” Werthe said. “I’m just so thankful that we got to do that before all this … got bad.”

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