A slight decline in attendance was blamed on the gloomy weather, but more so on the conflict with Dana Point’s Festival of Whales Parade.
“That has cost us participants and visitors,” said parade committee President Charles Quilter II. “And for the past few years, we have not been able to get television coverage. Apparently, Dana Point has more leverage with Cox Cable.”
The Patriots Day Parade has been on the first Saturday in March for decades. Dana Point only has competed for attendance and participation for about five years. The City Council voted Tuesday at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Kinsman to approach Dana Point officials about changing their date to the second Saturday in March, which Quilter said would benefit both events.
However, neither weather nor attendance affected the enthusiasm with which awards were presented to participants.
The President’s Trophy was awarded to the Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club that included recently retired Police Capt. Danell Adams, on a horse she acquired last October and had never before ridden in a parade.
“They just knocked our socks off,” Quilter said.
Grand Marshal Harry Lawrence, who served in the U. S. Navy in World War II, presented his trophy to the Camp Pendleton Young Marines Oaks Middle School from Ontario who won the Band Sweepstakes.
Marching bands in the parade were judged by four members of the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Assn.
Laguna Beach Elementary School Band came in first in its bracket. The Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band won the adult band category.
All other entries, except for the automobiles, were judged by former Arts Commissioner Suzi Chauvel, Gary and Arts Commission Chair Nancy Beverage, with an accumulated 17 years experience. The combined color guard of Laguna Beach posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion was picked as the best color guard over age 21.