By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Crestline residents were restless without Jamboree Days to celebrate on July 4th, so two different groups held their own parades through town. One was a car parade, the other a walking celebration of America’s freedoms. Both events were festooned with America flags.
Many Crestline residents were disappointed there was no parade this year for Jamboree Days; others are frustrated by the newly ordered business closures and other impacts that COVID-19 has forced against their mountaintop community. Some residents were pleased to have a wonderful summer weekend not crowded with visitors, but wishing the beach was open.
Jody Glaviano, owner of Rim Bowling, has again been forced to completely close her entertainment business for the next three weeks. She has always been very involved in the organization of numerous events over the Jamboree Days weekend, since she has been an active supporter of the Crestline-Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce for years. She was without anything to do all weekend.
Glaviano was talking with her friends and other business owners and they decided to hold a rally supporting America and hold their own picket signs and flags and parade through Crestline, celebrating their rights as Americans. “There was no parade, no Jam Days. All I said was, let’s celebrate America, and here we are!
“This demonstration is in support of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” said Glaviano. “I am providing posters so each person can make their own protest sign, expressing their own opinions. I am supplying flags, as this is an American patriotic statement expressing each citizen’s inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence,” she told The Alpine Mountaineer.
To celebrate their rights as Americans to free assembly, the 25 individuals walked along Lake Drive beginning around noon. They walked from the Rim Bowling Lanes to Encompass Antiques, crossing over the street to Higher Grounds Coffee House and returned down Lake Drive. They received constant honks of approval during the half-hour walk on the sidewalks, waving their flags and saying hello to friends and restaurant customers eating alfresco, as they would have done if in the Jamboree Days Parade, cruising on their floats.
Some of the signs said, “I was born in a free country” and another “I walk in peace.” Allen Mairs commented, “It is now time to celebrate our freedoms and stop being afraid.”
“This was designed as a non-political rally, it was a patriotic display in support of America and all the reasons we love it here,” added Glaviano.
To support the event, some of her friends decided to hold a free traditional hotdog barbecue in the bowling alley parking lot. They had cold water and drinks and community members gathered to express disappointment in this year and what the Coronavirus has done to the town and the lack of tourists and visitors this year, when there was perfect weather for the event. They were sad at the business and beach closures and their inability to celebrate America’s birthday in the way Crestline usually does.
Another spontaneous parade occurring on Saturday, July 4th was the Rim Christian Cruisers car club which decided to drive slowly through town and show off their classic cars. If the Jamboree Days parade had occurred, they would have proudly been in it again this year. Most of the cars, from King Sharpe’s VW Bug to Russ Keller’s yellow Studebaker Hawk and others were bedecked with flags.
Club member Tim Farrell came up with the idea on Friday afternoon, calling the other club members and 12 of them decided to meet in Top Town Crestline at 10:30 Saturday morning. At 11 a.m. they lined up and drove about 10 m.p.h. down Fern Drive to Lake Drive as they would have done in the Jamboree Days parade, waving to all as they went through Lake Gregory Village honking their horns and getting positive responses from those they passed. Several residents took pictures of the spectacle and posted them on Facebook, which also got dozens of likes.
The Rim Cruisers drove around Lake Gregory on San Moritz Drive and back onto Lake Drive with a return trip down Lake Drive through the business district, again to more positive yells of approval. Sharpe was weaving his VW across the lane, making his drive even slower. They drove back up to Top Town, where many of the drivers had lunch at the outside seating at the Bear House Restaurant to celebrate their fine parade through town.
This was an unusual year for July 4th in Crestline and across the state as fireworks shows were canceled and large gatherings discouraged. But the spirit of the people of Crestline cannot be denied.
Later in the day, possibly inspired by the Facebook postings of the Crestline events, a spontaneous boat parade was organized by Facebook posters and held on the waters of Lake Arrowhead at 3 p.m. No fireworks were held in the mountain communities this year due to a decree by the governor. The Arrowhead Lake Association has stated they plan to hold a fireworks show for its members later in the year, possibly on Labor Day or New Year’s Eve, when the COVID-19 virus is controlled enough to allow public gatherings with appropriate social distancing.