Burbank on Parade sports a western look

It was the perfect day for a parade. Crowds lined the sidewalks along Olive Avenue under overcast skies on Saturday, while the 34th annual Burbank on Parade marched, rolled and galloped from Keystone to Lomita streets.

Local business representatives, local and state government officials, school bands and country-western performers all participated in this year's event with the theme, "Burbank — City of the Wild Wild West."


Some were in full western regalia, including grand marshal Gerald McRaney of TV's "Deadwood."


The event replaced a traditional spring festival, which began in 1945, celebrating life in Burbank. The parade has continued annually since 1981, as a way to build community awareness and bring in the season.

Burbank resident Shawnda Hughes brought her 3-year-old grandson, Raymond Williams-Hughes, to watch his dad march with Ken Nagayama's Martial Arts School, which has two locations in Burbank.

"In the 24 years that the dojo has been here, this is the first time they have been in the parade," said Hughes. "We're very excited."

Distracted momentarily by a free toy from a McDonald's employee, Raymond watched a man in a horse suit trot by, his favorite sight, so far. After classic movie cars like Magnum, P.I.'s Ferrari and Bumblebee from "Transformers" motored past, his face lit up as the children from the martial arts classes stopped and showed off some synchronized moves.


Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse rolled by in a 1950s Ford police cruiser, and the fire department followed with some trick driving with a ladder truck.

The highlight of the day was a reenactment of the "Gunfight at the OK Corral," complete with lots of loud gunshots. The show was staged by "Gunfighters for Hire," a western comedy club from Yucca Valley.

"We were honored to be invited to participate {in the parade}," said gunfighter Harry Hyde, who performs with his wife, Caroline. "Today, I'm Doc Holliday. I'm always the one who gets shot."

The Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. revived its float from this year's Rose Parade with monkey characters "Going Bananas."

Jeff Clark of North Hollywood packed his family and his neighbor's kids into a minivan to join the festivities.

"It ain't the Rose Parade, but it's still fun," Clark said.

Sal Polcino is a free
lance writer.