Catalina Island

Avalon Celebrates Independence Day


It was a fun-filled 4th of July, for all who celebrated the nation’s Independence Day in Avalon and other parts of the island. People enjoyed beach activities, eating at local restaurants or just gathering at home for a barbecued dinner or dinner with family and friends.  The City of Avalon hosted an array of 4th of July activities including the annual 4th of July Parade, featuring the USC Marching Band and patriotically decorated golf carts, and the Fireworks Show.


The Fireworks Show was great, and this year the fireworks were released from a barge just outside Avalon Harbor, allowing people at Hamilton Cove and Descanso Beach better views, while keeping the fireworks’ falling hot debris far away from any chance of landing on the very dry brush covering Avalon’s hillsides or on boats moored in the harbor, thus keeping all safe from a possible fire. The night was clear, so clear that many people looking to the far-away horizon could see the fireworks shows happening on the mainland.

There was a 4th of July dinner at the world famous Casino Ballroom, that included a concert by the USC Spirit of Troy Marching Band, and it was one of the best places to watch Avalon’s spectacular fireworks show. Each year this is sponsored by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce.


Over the years the parade has grown in popularity and people arrived early in the morning to line Crescent Avenue with folding chairs or beach chairs placed on brightly colored towels to reserve
their front-row seat for Avalon’s parade. Everybody loves a parade, and this proved to be true in Avalon last Saturday. People cheered for their favorites, and kids gathered up the candy thrown by people from decorated carts. A few spectators even danced to the music being played by live bands.


The 4th of July Parade’s theme was “Celebrating American Music.” The Parade’s Grand Marshall was Avalon’s Marshall Brown, and there was no better selection for this musical theme. He rode in the parade with the band Blackjack and they played lively blues and country music as they made their way along the parade route.  Marshall is well known for music in Avalon, as he is the bugler
for the Avalon Veterans of Foreign Wars and former owner of the Chi Chi Club. Many old timers will remember the time when the Chi Chi Club was downstairs on Sumner Street, and in the afternoons Marshall and his band would play on the outside patio. And now, he’s still playing music with Blackjack.


Avalon’s Veterans of Foreign Wars lead the parade with their Color Guard, followed by several vehicles with flags and banners. Then, the Spirit of Troy, the University of Southern California’s
Marching Band, came down the parade route, which started at the Casino and ended at Clarissa Avenue, with the flag girls and song girls leading the way. The USC band stopped at the Tuna Club, to play a couple songs especially for the Club members. The band was followed by a marvelous array of decorated golf carts, people and bicycles.  All flying American flags and celebrating the nation’s birthday.


After the parade there was an awards ceremony downtown on Wrigley Stage. The City of Avalon presented Marshall Brown with a proclamation. Awards were given to the best decorated golf cart floats and parade entries. The awards presentation was followed by a concert on Wrigley Stage by the Spirit of Troy.  The Rodger Family took first place for “Most Patriotic” with their “American Music Rocks” entry. The Catalina Island Humane Society got second place, and third place went to Beach Girls with their entry titled “Surfing USA.”  The first place for the “Most Creative” float went to a float entitled “His Masters Voice.” Avalon’s favorite dancer, Bill Hill, came in second with his entry “Still Dancing.” The Loney Family took third place with their entry “Celebrating
American Music.”  This year the the Huston-Palago Family won first place, for “Most Humorous,” for their “Older Elvis.” Driving into second place, was an entry titled “Smartest Float,” consisting of three Smart-Cars (one red, one white and one blue) by Drew Mauck and the Foster Family.  The big trophy for the “Best of Theme” went to the “The Over the Hill Gang.”



Story and Photo credit:  Barbara Crow