Monday, May 25, 2015

Canoga Park Celebrates Memorial Day! Part I!

By Quilt staff


Speeding police vehicles with blaring sirens, misbehaving and unsupervised children, adults who don't respect personal space, competing car stereos turned up to bone-rattling levels, public defecation, and people walking in the middle of the street — just another normal day in Canoga Park, right?

Not by a long shot: Today was our Memorial Day Parade, and all of the above was just part of the fun! Well, except for the misbehaving and unsupervised children and their clueless parents crowding our army of photographers as they tried to professionally do their job, but after all, this is Canoga Park — what did we expect from such a gregarious, hands-on community?  We love you, Canoga Parkians!

And by the way — what a parade it was!

Did You Know? Today's was Canoga Park's 26th Annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade started in 1989 as a means for the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Health to get area residents out of their homes for a few hours so exterminators could go in and mass-fumigate all residential structures for pests, since Canoga Park was then facing an unprecedented carpet beetle infestation that the City Council was terrified was going to spread to the nicer parts of Winnetka and expand exponentially from there. Hollywood legend and former Woodland Hills resident Herb Edelman — you'll remember him as Dorothy's ex-husband Stan on "Golden Girls" — did his part by acting as the parade's first grand marshall.

Since then the parade has grown by leaps and bounds, getting bigger and better every year. As for the carpet beetles, they're one thing on Memorial Day we'd like to forget!
Some of the gang from Wings Over Wendy's - a group of veterans and friends
who meet Mondays at 9 a.m. at Wendy's at Victory & Platt in West Hills. 
The Pasadena Scottish Pipes & Drums. 
Congressman Brad Sherman. Did you get one of his complimentary combs? We did!
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh waves to the crowd. 
There were more horses this year than you could shake a shovel at! And speaking of which...
...Here are the unsung heroes of the parade who were there to clean things up if need be. Lucky
for them, Mayor Garcetti didn't make an appearance this year, so there wasn't as much manure.
LA City Council member Bob Blumenfield who represents District 3 — that's
our own Canoga Park (and other, lesser areas that aren't worth mentioning). 
And here's LA City Council member Mitch Englander, who was granted special dispensation by
Councilman Blumenfield to be allowed to visit Canoga Park from his district of Westeros Hills.
He will no doubt offer something in return, as it is said that an Englander always pays his debts.
Of special note is the vanity plate on the front of councilman Englander's chariot. An unfortunate
oversight? Or the first volley in a Machiavellian plot by a rival looking to politically cripple
Mitch before the next city council election, "House of Cards"-style? ...Aah, probably the former.
Hard to see, but that's Capt. Ryan (on the passenger side), commanding officer of the Topanga area.
"Saluting the Price of Freedom" was this year's parade theme.
Here comes American Legion Post 826 in a great old-timey fire engine.
More folks from the American Legion.
 Oh, there's more! Click on them all — that is, unless you hate America!

Memorial Day Coverage Part II

Memorial Day Coverage Part III

Memorial Day Coverage Part IV

Correction: Herb Edelman was not the parade's first grand marshall, although there is no evidence to suggest he did not maybe attend the parade, or was not inconvenienced by parade-related traffic and street closures. We regret the error.

Canoga Park Celebrates Memorial Day! Part II!

By Quilt staff.


Our continuing coverage of the Canoga Park 26th Annual Memorial Day Parade continues!

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't
suit me." — Jenny Joseph.  Let's hear it for the ladies of our local Red Hat Society! 
Well, we think the red & purple suit 'em just fine.
The highway patrol's here to keep an eye on things as we, the spectators
and Quilt subscribers, keep an eye on this wonderfully vintage vehicle.
Here's Corinne Ho, president of the Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council as well as
the head of a task force organized to curb unsafe smartphone use while riding in parades.
Family remembers Cpl. William I. Salazar, a Marine cameraman
who died in October 2004 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The "exclusive" West Hills Neighborhood Council insisted on a truck with high sides for "safety."
"It's just like going to Lion Country Safari," said Council President Bob Rawlins before slapping
the side of the truck, a signal to the driver to speed up because of the threat of danger, in this case,
an exuberant six-year-old excitedly shaking an inflatable Spider-Man toy at the passing vehicle.
If this were a statue, a horse with one front leg in the air and 
one back leg in the air would symbolize that the rider has about
had it with all the noise from those goddamn vuvuzuelas. 
Did You Know?™ For this, the parade's 26th year, the theme "Saluting the Cost of Freedom" was chosen from over 14 different suggestions.

"Oh, yeah, there was 'Honoring Those Who Served,' 'A Tribute To Our Veterans,' 'Canoga Park Remembers,' 'Freedom Isn't Free,' and a bunch of others," says Murla Havemeyer, head of Parade Organizement for the Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council. "Lots of 'Honoring' and 'Remembering' and, uh, I think 'Freedom' came up in a lot of them, too. It's kind of hard to get away from some of those words, but then, you really don't want to. I mean, it's a Memorial Day parade, for God's sake."

Eventually a committee whittled it down to "something in the area" of what was ultimately used. 

But, notes Havemeyer, it wasn't easy: "A few of our members really went around and around on it for a while. This one insisted on 'the cost of freedom,' someone else — I think it was Jim — wanted 'the price of freedom.' Neither side would budge. Finally Coco's was closing and we had to figure out something. So we flipped a coin."

The Lions Eyemobile was at the parade, tossing out free eyes to eager children, many of
whom were blind, could not find them, and were subsequently run over by old-timey cars.
These old-timey cards had many spectators doing double-takes, thinking they'd been transported
back in time to the early 2000s, when a number of old-timey cars were in the parade as well.
The real Ronald McDonald points to the body of an unseen impostor lying across the
floor in the backseat after triumphantly having ripped his arm off, making a subtle but clear
point about the consequences of impersonating the world's most beloved (and powerful) clown.
The Taft High School Marching band included the hardest-working cello player in the parade (and
the only cello player in the parade), who spent more time running with his folding chair than playing.
Uncle Sam was a big hit with the crowd, running back & forth
from one side of the street to the other, with high-fives for all.
It's one of those awesome little miniature horses, just like from that episode of
Huell Howser — you know, the one with the miniature horses.  It's amazing!
Oh, there's more! Click on them all — that is, unless you hate America!

Memorial Day Coverage Part I

Memorial Day Coverage Part III

Memorial Day Coverage Part IV

Canoga Park Celebrates Memorial Day! Part III

By Quilt staff.


Our continuing coverage of the Canoga Park 26th Annual Memorial Day Parade continues to continue!

Hey, it's KITT!  Knight Industries, designer of this car of the future, abandoned the advanced automotive
technologies field in the late 1980s and focused on the lucrative area of banquet & reception halls instead.
Canoga Park's own Our Lady of the Valley School had one of the most highly decorated trucks
in the parade and was flanked by the ever-peppy Crusaders cheer squad. Rah! Rah! Rah!
International Taekwondo College of West Hills put on some great demonstrations
along the parade route. And hey, is that "Jurassic World" star Chris Pratt, making
an uncredited parade appearance as his "Parks & Rec" alter-ego Johnny Karate? 
Here come the Fab Girls of the San Fernando Valley, based out of the Winnetka Recreation Center.
They put on quite a show, dancing to the music of the 1940s — perfect for Memorial Day.
Sharp-looking cadets from North Valley Military Institute, an LAUSD
charter school founded in 2013, were proud to march in today's parade. 
It's worth noting that the West Valley Eagles were the champions in the 2014
Valley Youth Conference soccer clinic, but not in the banner-carrying clinic.
Wells-Fargo's famous stagecoach traveled the parade route, and everyone who waved at
the passing horse-drawn carriage automatically had an account opened in his or her name.
The Canoga Park Improvement Association saluted and honored our vets with an elaborate display
featuring a larger than life pair of boots, rifle, helmet and dog tags, plus a panel featuring artwork of
these same items as they looked in wars across the last century, from World War I to Afghanistan.
Down Sherman Way, let's go men! We're shovin' right off, we're shovin' right off again!

Did you know? Before the parade began, spectators were treated to a stirring rendition of God Bless America, as well as some brief speeches, rousing audience warm-up and a few announcements, from the starting point of the parade at Owensmouth and Sherman Way. One such announcement pleaded with the audience to please stay off of the street and on the sidewalk for safety and so that everyone could enjoy the passing show.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule: Parade vendors, hander-outers of free political combs and religious postcards, and unwashed drifters in their late 20s riding bicycles against the flow of the parade were among those not affected by this pronouncement.

Visiting dignitaries, too, were afforded wider latitude and not held to the same standard as locals, such as this family of ambassadors from an area northeast of Canoga Park, who came to applaud the Chatsworth Chiefs Cheerleading squad, and held court well beyond the edge of the sidewalk, blocking the view for all behind them, but offering those same spectators a marvelous demonstration of the cultures and behavior of nearby communities. Diplomatic protocol granted them complete immunity from confinement to their chairs or the curb like everyone else — and Canoga Park is all the richer for it. Hey, thanks for coming!

Here's some patriotic fellas from the American Legion, Van Nuys, Post 193.
Canoga Park Elks Lodge 2190 supports our veterans, you better believe it.  They also have the
best reception/banquet facilities in all of Canoga Park, and actually know how to manage such
an enterprise, unlike certain other Canoga Park organizations that rent out their clubhouses.
Spectators, many of them fans of the benevolent Elks Club, had no trouble spotting this Elks
Club vehicle in the parade — it was the one with the official Elks Club mascot on top: a pig. 
Saban Entertainment in conjunction with Hallmark Cards used the parade to give us all a
first look at the costumes for their much-anticipated Power Rangers / Rainbow Brite comb-
ination reboot and mashup. "Rainbow Rangers" will be debuting on ABC Family this fall.
...Although there are some who insist what we were watching was instead the ENAF-USA dancers,
putting on a display of the traditional Bolivian dance, the Caporales, which depending on the source,
can be translated as either "the dance of the mismatched shoes" or "the shoulder pad shimmy."
 Oh, there's more! You don't have to click on them all, but maybe you should think about what it would be like living in a country where you don't have the freedom to click on anything you like. Or worse, Reseda.

Memorial Day Coverage Part I

Memorial Day Coverage Part II

Memorial Day Coverage Part IV

Canoga Park Celebrates Memorial Day! Part IV!

By Quilt staff.


We now return to our extensive coverage of the 26th Annual Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade, sponsored in part by Vallarta Supermarkets — the low-price leader for colorful yet remarkably bland oversized cookies shaped like slices of watermelon and sold individually out of a lucite bin, and also by your neighborhood Arby's — Arby's: We Have the Meats™. 

There will be no further interruptions.

This talented vaquero, or "cow-boy," twirls his lasso, or "rope," demonstrating the tool
that early Canoga Park rancheros used when a stray possum broke away from the herd.
The Salvation Army's Canoga Park Adult Rehabilitation Center has been
serving our area and helping folks get back on track for thirty-two years.
Parade spectators were delighted at the sight of the Salvation Army's donation pick-up truck. "I wonder
if there's unwanted toys in there, given up by a boy who has too many, or perhaps even a gently-used pair
of short-pants for me, or, oh!, maybe even a new blouse for Mother," one tot was heard to wonder aloud.

Did You Know? The Memorial Day Parade marks the official start of the Noise Season in Canoga Park, known for its traditional summertime events such as illegal fireworks randomly being set off in the middle of the street at all hours of the night, outdoor parties surprisingly scheduled for Sunday evenings and featuring live bands with seemingly endless stamina, and the Cohasset 500, where a single roaring, screeching car whips around a one-block route (Valerio to Jordan to Cohasset to Vassar), as fast and as many times as possible before running down a pedestrian, careening into a home or utility pole, or spotting a police vehicle.  The fun continues all summer long with these and other noise-related activities — and with the unusually hotter weather we've been enjoying these last few years, possibly well into the autumn months.

A large contigent of colorful trucks and SUVs took center stage on
Sherman Way next as onlookers along the street watched in awe.
Like exotic birds, the colorful vehicles seemed to preen themselves and show off in a proud
display of open doors and dropped tailgates, like so many carbon steel and chrome feathers.
The "flock" of trucks and SUVs sang out, each with its own song; bass-heavy sound
systems created a marvelous cacophony of blaring and competing noise so that no one
tune was distinct; instead, each vehicle doing its part to add to the delightful dissonance.
What would a parade be without beauty queens? Miss Woodland Hills, Elizabeth Sams and Miss
San Fernando Valley, Kimberly Bebo, ride in a "beauty" of a car, a vintage Chevy Super Sport!
Chatsworth welcomes the world — the Special Olympics World Games, that is. Our neighbor
to the north east is thrilled to be the host city for the Games, coming up this July 25 - August 2.
The LA Fire Department closes out our parade as one brave
firefighter climbs to the top of the ladder to try to reason with
the clouds to please go away. They refused, but who cares —
sun or not, Canoga Park put on a great parade enjoyed by all!

Did You Know? Traditionally, the Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade ends with the Los Angeles Fire Department bringing up the rear. Crowds love the spectacle the mere presence the bright red fire engines bring, but more importantly, the trucks serve a practical purpose as well: Crowds disperse quicker and easier with the threat of firefighters ready to turn the fire hoses on these spectators, many of whom have no place to go and would otherwise mill around endlessly and soon start some kind of trouble without the distraction of gaily decorated vehicles and marching bands to otherwise occupy their attention.

That's it for the parade! Thanks for coming and see you next year! 
It was wonderful to meet so many of our readers at the Official Canoga Park Quilt Memorial Day Parade Headquarters today. And our thanks of course to the good folks at Godfather, the Gentlemen's Club for being our official parade hosts by allowing us to set up our economy pop-up canopy on the sidewalk in front of their establishment — as well as for all the hospitality they showed to us inside, after the parade was over. Why, our own Ingomar Schoenborn can't stop talking about it!

Happy Memorial Day to you, Canoga Park, and our sincere thanks to all those who have served.