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Parade back on track

After a couple of shaky years, Burbank on Parade will honor those involved in military service.

April 11, 2007|By Chris Wiebe

BURBANK — On the heels of a well-attended comeback in 2006, Burbank on Parade organizers are in the midst of preparations for this year's event, titled, "Saluting those who serve."

The armed forces- commemoration and patriotism theme has garnered strong support from military veterans, who are working alongside past and first-time volunteers to put on the parade on April 28, said Renee Hoenig, a parade organizer. The parade, which will begin at 11 a.m., will travel down Olive Avenue between Keystone and Lomita streets, featuring community groups, high school marching bands and local dignitaries.

"We really have a lot of enthusiasm and involvement this year," she said. "We have quite a few volunteers that come back and work on the parade every year. And this year we have so many veterans coming because of the theme."

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A military air squadron is scheduled to fly over to open the event, which will also feature an 8-foot-tall commemoration wall, where attendees can attach ribbons bearing the names of military personnel, she said.

"People will be able to remember and honor anybody they would like to — whether they've served before, are serving now or gave their life for their country," Hoenig said.

The parade hit a lull in 2005 after the scheduled 2004 event coincided with Armenian genocide commemoration, a conflict organizers were unable to remedy at the last minute. Organizers were unable to attract many volunteers the next year and problems with the city's License and Code Compliance Division and Parks, Recreation and Community Services caused the parade to be canceled altogether.

But last year, about 125 volunteers joined the effort to reprise Burbank on Parade, which attracted more than 2,000 participants, an attendance level that exceeded the years preceding 2005, organizers said.

Volunteers and organizers for this year's event are in the planning stage of crafting a parade layout, Hoenig said.

"Our volunteers are doing all kinds of things," she said. "We have somebody taking care of bands, somebody taking care of floats, somebody taking care of equestrian groups."

Along with city of Burbank dignitaries, Mickey Mouse will make an appearance as the parade's grand marshal, Hoenig said.

"We were really happy to have him a part of this because, during World War II, he was part of the United Service Organizations, so we really feel that he's a part of this," she said.

The event has the support of the city, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce and area businesses such as First Security Lending, the Cusumano Real Estate Group and the Bob Hope Airport, she said.

Ronnie da Matta, president of First Security and a Burbank native, said his company is proud to sponsor the event as a celebration of Burbank and military serviceman.

"What better way to demonstrate our pride in our hometown, and express our gratitude for the community support that we have received, than by sponsoring one of Burbank's oldest and most memorable traditions?" he said.

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