Crescent City's charm ignites Fourth of July activities

July 04, 2001 11:00 pm

By Laura Brown

Triplicate Staff Writer

A kaleidoscope of activity could be found around Crescent City yesterday as the whole town came out of the woodwork to celebrate one of the biggest days of the year.

This is the best parade of any place around, said Gladys Hackman, a former Del Norte resident and visitor from Grants Pass, Ore.

Grand Marshall Bill Stamps blew kisses to the crowd as he led the parade in a bright orange 1927 convertible model T touring car. Im flattered. I feel very humble. I must have waved to a thousand people, said Stamps.

At least.

The sidewalks surged like a great moving wall. People filled every available space. Many wore hooded sweatshirts, caps and gloves to keep themselves warm against the brisk, foggy morning. They stood shoulder to shoulder with video recorders in hand to capture their friends and family waving back at them with beaming smiles.

Fire trucks and 18-wheelers made their way through the streets with sirens, horns and flashing lights. Polished classic cars carried local dignitaries followed by a procession of Corvettes. The Crescent City Municipal Marching Band kept a steady beat with brass and drums as it played Thunder.

It was fun. We did well in the beginning then I got kind of tired at the end, said David Kirkland, a sophomore in high school.

Its cool. Weve been doing it since 5th- and 6th-grade, said Kirklands buddy, David Veilleux, also a sophomore.

What did they have planned for after the parade? Were gonna blow something up, Veilleux said with a laugh, then added, safe and sane, though.

Kapsoo Jeong watched the parade through a video camera. Its good. I like to see the school displays and dancing on the street.

Children scrambled like ants to pick up candy thrown in the streets. Shriners in miniature cars drove in comical loops.

With a guttural rumble, the Harleys roared past with black- leather-clad riders.

With air-cracking explosions, the Jed Smith Mountain Men walked by as if they had time travelled from a distant past.

Bagpipes produced patriotic tunes as men in plaid skirts blew the cradled instruments in their arms.

The Rock Crawling Jeep Society made its way, sporting mud splashes and all.

Intermittent runners from the 5K- and 10K-run jogged through with soaked T-shirts, flushed skin and determined looks on their faces.

Young Jessica Struffert, the Orick Rodeo Princess, and her spotted horse, Desperado, participated in the parade. It was exciting. He was also excited. Ive been in a few other years, Struffert said.

More than 120 entries were in this years parade, which, according to Bob Berkowitz, is more entries than ever before.

After the parade, the crowds seemed to multiply in Beachfront Park. Smells of barbecued meat, kettle corn and polish sausages intermingled, tantalizing tastebuds of those within smelling distance.

Melodies of pan flutes, guitar and charango floated above the jumble of the crowd. Music of the Andes was performed by the San Francisco-based band, Kantu. Later, Tsunami Swing delivered big band jazz music and familiar favorites.

Booths of every variety from pottery, aromatherapy, tie-dyed clothing, and even a massage table enclosed within a fluttering scarf-decorated tipi lined the park.

Its pretty fun. I wish I was selling more, said Jeremy Joly of the Youth Center Pottery Program.

Throughout the day, activities such as Cow Chip Bingo, Fire Fighters Olympics, Parade of Sails and Crescent City Airport Day provided non-stop fun.

The climax of the evening was the fireworks show displayed in an Independence salute over Battery Point.