This 1951 image of Lake Park in Huntington Beach is one of my favorite Fourth of July images in the Orange County Archives collections. (Click image to embiggen.) Taken just after the famous Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade, it's full-to-overflowing with classic Americana and Orange Countiana. (Paging Charles Phoenix! Paging Mr. Charles Phoenix!)
Drum majorettes wait for the milkman to dole out ice cream cups and sporks. The local Shriners are working the barbeques (which still stand today) in the background. And to go with the burgers and hot dogs, there are Cokes (in glass bottles) and Laura Scudders potato chips. Among the crowd are the various equestrians, still in their "Wild West" and "Old Mexico" costumes. And of course, on the horizon, are the ever-present Huntington Beach oil derricks.
The ice cream was from Excelsior Creamery, which also had a big floral float in the parade to carry "Queen" Joanne Morrison of Santa Ana College, and her "Princesses," Pat Calloway, Diana Charlton, Darlene Higgins (daughter of pioneer surfer Bud Higgins), Betty Jones, and Marilyn Kamphefner.
The parade's theme was a tribute to those serving in the Korean War. Both the El Toro Marine Band and the U.S. Naval Recruiting Band from San Diego marched and played the length of the parade route. Admiral Wilder Baker was the military grand marshal.
All told, there were 300 units in the parade. It was followed by a bathing beauty contest at the foot of the pier, the aforementioned picnic in Lake Park, a horse show at Tom Talbert's race track, and a fireworks show launched off the end of the pier.
I hope you enjoy an all-American Independence Day celebration in your own community this year.