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Memorial Weekend Fiesta Days crowds show willingness to celebrate through rain, shine

An unprecedented downpour of rain Sunday couldn’t drown out the fun had by thousands of revelers who danced, played, feasted and made merry anyway at last weekend’s 46th annual Memorial Weekend Fiesta Days.

And as if on command, clouds parted on Monday, casting sunbeams on grateful participants at the annual Memorial Day Service and Parade and ushering in the beginning of the city’s Music in the Park concert series.

While Sunday’s forecast had many wondering whether the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Assn. might cancel that night’s fireworks show, the dazzling nighttime display went off without a hitch, according to Mayor Len Pieroni.

“The rain kept some folks away, but a lot of people stuck it out to the end,” Pieroni said on Monday. “It was a good evening — very memorable.”

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For the preceding family barbecue, however, rain was definitely on the menu as families huddled under umbrellas to enjoy their dinners. Event chair Barbara Marshall agreed this year’s festivities would not soon be forgotten.

MORE FIESTA DAYS COVERAGE: Casino Night at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge »

“It was hysterical,” Marshall said, describing drenched dinner patrons, herself included. “Attendance wasn’t as great because it was so cold, but that’s OK. Attitude is everything — you either make up your mind to have fun or you miss out.”

Organizers breathed a sigh of relief Monday as a cloud-filled blue sky created a perfect backdrop for the annual Memorial Day Service and Parade.

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Put on by area Scout troops at La Cañada’s Memorial Park, this year’s service honored not only those servicemen and women who lost their lives in battle, but the many who were taken prisoners of war or declared missing in action.

“In war, when a soldier dies the living go with them. Yet when a soldier is missing there is no finale,” said Flintridge Sacred Heart student and emcee Emilie Risha. “Today we remember those who never came home. Today they are not forgotten.”

Veterans from World War II to the present day were invited to the stage to share their rank, company and years of service and pay tribute to those who never made it back. Poems and letters found on fallen soldiers, including one never identified, were recited by children, as were the names of La Cañada Flintridge’s own war dead.

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Afterward, participants made their way down Foothill Boulevard for the Fiesta Days Parade. Planted on a stretch of curb near Cornishon Avenue and the parade start was Erika Vega, who brought daughter Zoey, 7, and 9-year-old son Jacob from San Dimas to watch their father, Louis Sixtos, and older brother Louie ride in the Athens Services mini-truck.

The La Cañada parade has been a family tradition for the past three years, Vega said.

“I like it,” she said. “It showcases everything the city has to offer and brings in others from the outside, too.”

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