Patriots Day Parade still on, despite rain

The 48th annual Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade scheduled for Saturday is a go as of Thursday afternoon, even with rain in the forecast.

The parade committee met Wednesday and decided not to cancel, President Ed Hanke wrote in an email.

Hanke could not be reached for further comment Thursday to elaborate on details of the committee's discussion, but committee treasurer Sandi Werthe said a final determination on whether to cancel will be made Friday afternoon and posted on the parade website,

Hanke said in an email earlier this week that parade organizers have dealt with impending storms.

"We have had close ones like this before, and then it would clear out before the parade," Hanke said.

The parade would not occur again until next year if organizers cancel, Werthe said.

In 1985, President Hal Werthe decided — in the pre-dawn hours — to cancel the parade after an all-night downpour, according to the parade website.

Then, shortly before 11 a.m., the sun came out.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. at Short Street and Park Avenue — next to the Laguna Beach Unified School District office parking lot — and heads west on Park Avenue.

Parade entrants will traverse portions of Glenneyre Street, Forest Avenue and Third Street before finishing along Ocean Avenue near the Pepper Tree parking lot.

This year's parade theme is "Home of the Free Because of the Brave."

Laguna Beach resident and Olympic gold medal swimmer Janet Evans is this year's grand marshal, while Robert Mosier, a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot during World War II, is the honored patriot.

Parade entries range from civic and veterans organizations to school bands, floats, vintage automobiles and light-hearted novelty groups.

The parade also honors citizens who have served the community and those who have served the nation in time of war or national emergency.

The Citizen of the Year is former Laguna Beach Mayor Wayne Baglin, who has been a board member for several organizations including the State Water Resources Control Board, the South Orange County Wastewater Authority and Laguna Canyon Foundation. World champion surfers and married couple Alisa Schwarzstein Cairns and Ian Cairns, both Surfing Walk of Fame members, are Athletes of the Year.

Musician Carol Reynolds, one of the founders of the Laguna Concert Band, is Artist of the Year, while Laguna Beach High School seniors Perry Nielson and Garrett Burk are Junior Citizens of the Year.

Nielson is president of Circle of Friends, a group that helps special-needs students integrate into the student body, while Burk, concerned about drug and alcohol use among young people, is a leader of Laguna Prescription Drug Awareness.

The first parade was held Feb. 22, 1967, the brainchild of Emily Ross, according to the parade website.

Ross was a member of the Patience Wright chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and longed for a parade that would instill in youth a love of country and respect for the flag.

"Americans cherish freedom, but all too often we do not reflect how this came to be," the website said. "We honor those brave men and women in uniform who have given their lives in our defense through our 238-year history as a nation. We should also remember those who risked all to gain so many other freedoms that have become part of our Constitution."

For a map of the parade route and additional information, visit

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