Laguna Beach celebrates with its 51st Patriots Day Parade


Patriotic fervor swept through Laguna Beach on Saturday as the community celebrated the city’s 51st Patriots Day Parade.

The annual parade, held the first Saturday in March, showcased a variety of entrants such as civic and community organizations and school bands, including contingents from Laguna Beach High and Thurston Middle schools, and recognized a host of honorees.

This year’s theme, “One America,” celebrated the idea that the citizens of our nation and community come from all walks of life, according to the Patriots Day Parade website. “Our differences are reflected in the practice of democracy during the election process,” the site said.

This year’s honorees included grand marshals Aria and Makenzie Fischer, sisters who were on the U.S. women’s water polo team that won gold during last summer’s Rio Olympics; Honored Patriot Bob Sternfels, a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Forces who participated in a bombing raid on Hitler’s oil fields in Ploești, Romania, during World War II; Citizen of the Year Douglas Miller, a painter, photographer and musician; Artist of the Year John Barber, who specializes in glass blowing; junior citizens of the year Wyatt Shipp and Madison Sinclair, both seniors at Laguna Beach High; program cover artist Jared Ghetian, a Laguna Beach High senior; and essay contest winner Claire Tigner, an eighth-grade student at Thurston.

The original parade was the brainchild of Emily Ross, a member of the Patience Wright Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, according to the parade website.

Ross wanted a parade “that would instill in our youth a love of country and respect for the [American] flag,” the website said.

With the help of Laguna Beach Exchange Club President Roy Marcom Jr., Daughters of the American Revolution regent Grace Wethe and Laguna Beach High School music director Karl Koenig, the parade was born.

Daughters of the American Revolution is a nonprofit volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism and preserving American history, according to the organization’s website.

Grand marshals for the first parade in 1967 were Walter and Cordelia Knott, founders of Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park.

Twitter: @AldertonBryce