December 13, 2017

Topanga’s Parade Still Afloat

 

For the first time in years Topanga’s Will Geer Memorial Day Parade was not the water fight on wheels some have loved and some have come to hate. In fact, the community seemed to be on its best behavior this year, willingly draining buckets of water when it was made clear that “no” actually meant “no.” The result was described as a “short and sweet” parade. There were some great floats, bands and costumes as well as horses, vintage cars and motorcycles.

The California Highway Patrol and Caltrans even praised the smooth transition from the parade to the reopening of the Boulevard for the holiday’s beach traffic. And there were no disturbing reports like last year’s, of bleach allegedly being added to water balloons or of rampant disregard for traffic safety rules, which had threatened the future of our parade permit.

As it turned out, CHP concerns about Topanga having a parade even without official cooperation, may have helped keep the parade afloat. Also, the Topanga Town Council, which organized this year’s parade, led a genuine effort to stop the water fights and promote traffic safety.

Winners of the float contest included “Heaven on Earth,” with its circus acts, for most original; ”Peace Patriots,” girls in a jeep with camouflage netting, peace signs and flowers, for most Topangan; “Earth People,” a pickup with a fountain and people sitting in mud for most ecologically friendly; “Surfing the Milky Way” was chosen for most historical because the Milky Way is so old; and the pirate ship float was chosen for most hysterical.

Each winning float received a $50 check written to Rocco’s, Abuelitas or Inn of the Seventh Ray.

PHOTOS BY ANTHONY P VEREBES

Topanga’s Parade Still Afloat

Earth, wind and heaven were represented among the winning floats of the Topanga Day’s parade which also featured the “check mates” above and other great costumes, bands, horses and vintage cars.



When the Topanga Community Club decided not to host the parade because of problems last year, Town Council president Manfred Schlosser agreed to step in. Unfortunately, he became very ill and could not complete the preparations. He died on May 20. His many efforts as Topanga’s unofficial mayor, however, were commemorated in the parade. His photograph was mounted on the lead car in the place normally reserved for the parade’s grand marshal. Behind, Grand Marshal Allen Emerson rode in his Arson Watch van and broadcast a tribute to Manfred from his loudspeaker.

Town Council boardmember Anthony Hall took over preparations for the parade about three weeks before Memorial Day and had a lot to do in a short time. He said there were about 45 floats, not as many as last year, but some fun additions such as the man on a motorcycle with his husky dog riding on the gas tank. Also, there were several great band floats, including Topanga Lumber and general contractors Hawkins and Shea, Inc.

The Cub Scouts, he said, were fabulous. They arrived with buckets and buckets of water, and their squirt guns.

Topanga’s Parade Still Afloat



“They were ready to rock with the water fight,” said Anthony. But when they learned that the water fight was truly off, they graciously took to watering the Carlsons’ plants at Pine Tree Circle.

“Some people stayed away because of water last year, and some people didn’t come because of no water this year,” said Anthony. “There’s a real division in the community.”

Early next year, when it’s time to begin planning for the parade, Anthony said he wants to have a community meeting to talk about ways to satisfying both groups.

“I personally like the idea of getting cooled off a little bit on a hot sunny Memorial Day. But at the same time just because I might enjoy a little water play, I don’t think everybody in the parade should be subjected to water play.”