Longtime parade organizer recognized by Burbank City Council

A surprised Lou Morreale was recognized by Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes and the City Council on Tuesday for giving 30 years of service to Burbank on Parade.

"But I'm from Glendale!" Morreale quipped when he came up to the podium in council chambers.

"With his great wit he boosted the morale of everyone who works on the parade," said parade President Linda Barnes.

Though the many years he has served on the parade committee have been great, it is time for different ideas, Morreale said.

"Everyone should be involved or come view it," he said.

Barnes and her committee came to the City Council meeting to surprise Morreale with the honor and to give the City Council an update on plans for this year's event, scheduled for 11 a.m. April 14.

The theme is "The World of Aviation and its Heroes," featuring aviation pioneers Robert Gilliland and Clay Lacy as the grand marshals.

The parade started in 1945 to celebrate the end of World War II and continued for 12 years. After a hiatus, probably due to shortage of funds, Barnes said, a group of Realtors got together and resurrected the parade in 1981.

Morreale, a title representative, heard the women talking about planning the parade and he thought joining them would build his business. But it soon became a labor of love and created deep friendships that have remained strong to this day, he said.

One of the wildest parade memories was when Circus Vargas came to town and brought their elephants to walk the route, Morreale said. Somehow the elephants found their way to the equestrian formation area minutes before step off, which  added an extra element of drama for organizers, he said.

A sad parade memory, he added, was the year it rained so hard they canceled the parade.

"We told everyone they could march anyway, and people marched," he said. "So a negative became a positive."

-- Joyce Rudolph, for Times Community News

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