Montecito’s Village 4th Parade

By Joanne Calitri   |   July 9, 2020

Our town’s Annual Village 4th Parade was a great success! The Montecito Association went to great efforts to have a car parade whose route included all the Montecito area schools and where most of the students lived, as well as Channel Drive. The parade was well attended all along the parade route, lined with happy families, kids and pets waving flags and cheering, social distancing and wearing masks joking, honestly I am smiling!

The overcast morning gave way to a perfectly sunny day, as approximately 27 vehicles with their driver teams were checked in and lined up by the event co-chairs Mindy Denson, Kathi B. King and Trish Davis at Montecito Union School. Everyone was wearing patriotic face masks and social distancing was respected. CHP Captain Cindy Pontes briefed all the parade vehicle drivers on how the car parade was going to be done and what to watch out for along the route for safety. She and her team of newly appointed Lieutenant Grady Stevens and Sgt Jim Richards were thelead car.

At 11:30 am the parade commenced with a fly-over by five vintage planes in formation that came up from Butterfly Beach and flew directly over the parade start along San Ysidro Road, past MUS and onward into town. A huge thanks to pilot Michael Maloco, a 17-year Montecito resident and Montecito Association member who donated the fly over. Michael shared in a post parade interview with me, “All five aircraft are Beechcraft T-34 A & B Mentors made in 1955 – 1956, and restored to better than factory new and impeccably maintained, at no short expense. There were three A models that are ex-USAF aircraft and two B models built for the US. Navy. I piloted the lead aircraft in the formation and my pilot team are Jon Russell (Calabasas), Mike Reirdon (San Diego), Ron Alldredge (Tehachapi) and Kent Field (Santa Barbar) We are all high time pilots, some ex-military, some Commercial Captains; all are proficient in formation flying. I used to organize and Lead the Veterans Day Parade flights with 28 aircraft flying over Santa Barbara. We volunteered to do the July 4th parade fly over because are all patriotic Americans who are passionate about our love of our country, the men and women, as well as their families, who have and still give so much so that we can enjoy the lifestyles that we have. These include those in the military, police, fire, and all who are putting their lives on the COVID-19 line.”

After the fly over Mindy gave the cue to start the car parade, following the CHP sedan were the Boy Scouts, Dana Newquist in a vintage Fire Engine with Sofia Schuster singing “God Bless America,” many Montecito Association members, U.S. military vehicles and veterans, WWII D-Day veterans, John and Hazel Blankenship (co-founders of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation), Montecito Fire Dept, SB County Sheriff’s Dept, CA24 Representative Salud Carbajal driven by Jim Crooke Milpas Motors, First District SBC Supervisor Das Williams, and other vintage and classic cars.

Great big thanks go to the co-chairs, to Montecito Association Executive Director Sharon Byrne, all the sponsors, and volunteers for continuing a Montecito tradition by adapting it to fit these current times. The car parade was so well attended and appreciated, Mindy said that, “All three co-chairs are hearing requests for a Montecito Motorcade again next year!”

 

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