Early in the 1950’s the City of Glendora put on an annual Christmas Parade. In the 60’s, the Glendora Jaycees took it over and the parade continued until around 1998. The parade used to be a competitive Band event and was judged. The Judges stand and announcer were in front of Mrs. Simmons Bakery and Village Meats on Foothill Blvd.. The parade ended at Citrus College, where the trophies were handed out to all the Bands. The Jaycees and their wives pretty much did all the driving of the parade cars. Donna Crowther’s assignment for several years was to drive David Dreier. The Riley family motor home was at the start of the parade (Bennett and Glendora Ave.) and it was used for the VIP’s. Like today’s parade, all the VIP’s were given boutonnières and corsages and coffee and donuts were served. Ken Carter, a past Jaycee was the kick-off man at the corner of Glendora and Bennett. The parade did not start until he said so, a position so ably held today by Paul Sheldon. Other Jaycees involved in those years were Jim Riley, Jerry Heinrich, Nick Moffitt, Chris Mitchell, Bob and brother Don Rasmussen and Scott Naramore. Janice Hoffman and Jaime Caldwell came a few years later. Spouses were always there to help. It was during these years that celebrities such as Woody Strode, Dallas Raines (Channel 7 Newsman), Frazier Smith (radio personality) and Tommy Lasorda rode as Grand Marshals. Glendora had, for a few years, a Miss Glendora contest and the winner would ride in the parade. The year Todd Russell was parade chairman it rained and the band uniforms got all wet and they put everyone in buses and continued down the parade route!
Mike Rubel used to be Santa and he would throw “frisbees” etc. He would also have a number of his cars in the parade. At one point the parade was held at night but when a man was injured during the parade it was changed to daytime. Tim Crowther announced both parade and awards ceremony at Citrus. During this time the bands were judged and the competition was stiff! But the cost of hiring the judges and the Insurance became too much of a burden and around 1997-98 the Jaycees were disbanded and the parade was going to be just a part of Glendora history.
When Sue Bauer became Mayor in 1997? she felt that the parade shouldn’t be part of Glendora’s history but rather be part of it’s future and she contacted Karen Babineau to see if Karen could find some people interested in putting on a parade. At this point Rona Lunde and Paul Sheldon had been part of the committee for about 14 years and they wanted to continue. So Karen asked Robert Davis and Pat Janes and they climbed on board also. Then came Dave Hentsch & Gene Murabito. These seven citizens put on the parade for the next 7 years and were dubbed “the magnificent seven” by Gordie Norman at a City Council meeting.
The parade started downtown Glendora just as today’s parade but at that time ended at Citrus College. In fact, one year a Glendora Policeman actually stopped the train so the parade could continue uninterrupted! When the College raised the fees to use the lot it was changed to Foothill Presbyterian Hospital. Because of the traffic/parking situation before and after the parade we once again moved the end of the parade, this time to Sandburg Middle School. We had to be very careful with the parade route and with the help of Glendora’s Police Dept. and Dept. of Public Works we have been able to run a very smooth route that is available to everyone.
Around 1999 both Rotary and Kiwanis gave us “seed” money to help us with the parade. And they have also provided us with many volunteers during the parade, volunteers that were very important to the safety and staging of the parade. We feel very blest to have these two special service clubs join us with their support.
I remember when we used to do the parade lineup the night before the parade at Joe Babineau’s Plumbing Shop. We would bring in Pizza and soft drinks and do the lineup on large pieces of papers that would cover the desks! The next morning the parade would start and we would hold hands and grin from ear to ear as the Glendora Tartan Band would march by, starting the parade with their infamous, “Scotland, Home of the Brave”!
In 2001, right after 911, we had many of the Fireman and Policeman that went to New York to help the victims of that awful day march right up front in the parade. We were so proud of them, and the crowds showed their appreciation with their loud and lengthy applause! I asked Scott Swartz, the band director if they could play God Bless America at the start of the parade and he said that although it was not something they normally marched to he would obliged. What a moment! I don’t think there was a dry eye in sight! This is what makes this town so very special!
In 2005 the Parade Committee, “The Magnificent 7”, so deemed by Gordy Norman, was honored by the LA County Fair Glendora Days as the “Hometown Heroes”. This was very special to us because the members of our committee were volunteers from the Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club. They serve out of love for this city and the children who have ever wanted to be in a parade but couldn’t! And that includes adults also! Now our committee has grown to fifteen members!
Besides the Service Clubs we have volunteers from Glendora city services such as the Police Department, Public Works, the Chamber of Commerce and the Glendora Library Foundation Board. Each one has a specific job and does it with love and diligence, expecting no more than to watch the joy on the faces of all the children as they march down the parade route, making it all worth while.
This committee has been working together in mutual respect and cooperation and it has been an amazing experience. Each year we have discovered new ways to make the parade better, adding more announcers, better street control, different and exciting participants, easier staging and best of all, a parade that is all about kids!