"My wife and I have been announcing this Parade for 20 years and we’re not even half way to the time our predecessor's did it!"
You see, Mr. Al Laing held court in front of the library for over 40 years.
Back in '88 (when I had just turned six) my wife signed us up as Fifth Street Announcers. Back then each block had an announcer station and the script was simply read aloud. Frankly, the effort was a little painful due to the 'horn' style speakers we were issued and the lengthy scripts, usually written by the Entry's themselves and including the name of every first-born in their organizations’ history.
By our second year we had it figured out. I raided my job at the UCSD Music department and loaded up a huge sound system to supplement the experience with patriotic music. That same year I loaded 60 cassettes with one song each and probably looked like I was a frantic short-order cook, flipping waffles behind the Microphone while my wife spotted (fending off requests for birthday announcements, lost pets etc.) and while the folks across the street plied our area with margaritas (not for me, of course).
What I remember of those early years:
* More Pearl Harbor survivors
* More Pearl Harbor survivors walking instead of riding
* Less Border Patrol
* The Navy Seal doing their demonstrations on the bay
* Younger Shriners
* No environmental lawsuits to limit Fire Works show
* No Wounded Warrior entrees in the Parade...
We’ve come a long way since then. We have a wonderful crew of dedicated announcers and the crowds now enjoy 7 stations with full blown music. IPOD sourced Patriotic tunes like the ever perfect tear-jerker “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles, played when the Pearl Harbor Survivors pass by. After all, what could any Announcer possibly add to that magic moment when viewing these 80 and 90 year–old survivors.
We’re at the following locations this year: 100 block, 500 block, 600 block, 800 block, 900 block, Rotary Park and Churchill Lane.
It’s been a fun 20 years and I’ll probably keep doing it until they wheel me off...But I do serve a purpose. After all, who else is going to invite your children up to the Mic stand to actually see and touch a cassette. It’s awesome...
And, as for me, when else could I create my favorite moment of each Fourth of July Parade, (right when the last Entry passes by) and I get to blast “Rocky Mountain Way” by the James Gang, full volumn, right in the middle of Coronado....what a hoot!
Robb and Carmen Huff
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