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Honorees selected for 56th running of Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing band marches down Park Avenue during the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade in March 2020.
The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing band marches down Park Avenue during the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade in March 2020.
(Spencer Grant)
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Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade representatives have released the list of honorees for the 56th annual processional, which will feature the theme of “Volunteer Heroes” next year.

When the residents line the streets to take in the parade on Saturday, March 4, they will see Toni Iseman in the role of grand marshal. A longtime public servant, Iseman has just completed her sixth term on the Laguna Beach City Council. She did not seek reelection.

Laguna Beach City Council member Toni Iseman.
Former Laguna Beach City Council member Toni Iseman at the dais.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“I would usually plan my life around the Patriots Day Parade, and I believe over the years, I’ve only missed three,” Iseman said. “Always there on the sidewalk, usually the same place, until I got on the council, and then I was on the bus, and then I was waving.

“It is the sweetest day of the year. It’s a real hometown, small-town event that unites us, and we need some uniting right now, so hopefully, we will find ourselves just celebrating our town, our dogs — there’s usually a collection of marching dogs — and our kids.”

The longtime council member and former mayor speculated on having a couple family members ride with her, though she joked she would play second fiddle if her nephew Matt Iseman, the play-by-play announcer for “American Ninja Warrior,” took part in the proceedings.

“He’s just such a dear-heart and so much fun,” Iseman said. “Of course, if he were there, probably, they wouldn’t notice that I was waving. Matt would be the big story.”

Maj. Erin Bevacqua has been selected as the Honored Patriot of the upcoming parade. A Laguna Beach High School graduate, Bevacqua is a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Ken Aubuchon is being honored as the Citizen of the Year for his community volunteerism.

Laguna Beach High seniors Kirra Moore and Chris Hemsley were chosen as the Junior Citizens of the Year by school staff.

The Laguna Beach Little League Intermediate All-Star team is honored for reaching the Western Regional finals.
The Laguna Beach Little League Intermediate All-Star team is honored for reaching the Western Regional finals at a Laguna Beach City Council meeting on Oct. 4, 2022.
(Andrew Turner)

The Laguna Beach Little League Intermediate All-Stars will be honored as the Athletes of the Year. The team was also recognized at a City Council meeting in October after going 13-2 across 15 postseason games to win the District 55, Section 10 and Southern California State tournaments.

Randy Morgan, an architectural artist and sculptor, has been selected as the Artist of the Year. An avid baseball fan himself, Morgan unveiled a statue in honor of Arthur Tolbert “Skipper” Carrillo, a longtime Laguna Beach High baseball volunteer, in 2019.

“It’s a huge honor,” Morgan said of being named the parade’s Artist of the Year. “As artists, we work alone. … I’ve often said, ‘I’d rather be a musician because you get instant gratification. You get to go out and play with other people every night.’

“As artists, you work alone. It’s a great honor for me because I spent my whole life, I’ve been an artist my whole life, and I’m going to be an artist for the rest of my life, and it’s a pretty good thank you.”

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