Looks Like Another Silent 4th of July in Antioch

Late breaking news! I just saw Mayor Jim Davis at the Memorial Day event and he said it’s on, no questions, for the 4th of July parade – he told the Chief of Police we really need to do this. Starting time is 10 a.m. on July 4 at 2nd and E streets in downtown Antioch. Parade participants can call me for event info (925) 756-7628 or e-mail me at walter.ruehlig@gmail.com. I will also put together an application for on-line posting.

Aunt Millie, what next? Will they take Christmas away? I guess I just have to buck up, though, and realize times they are-a-changing. For a second straight year it looks like no Fourth of July celebration in historic Antioch.

Not to diminish the laudable efforts of Martha Parsons and Sue Davis, who gallantly rode to the rescue last year to salvage a march around Somersville Town Center. Nevertheless, we all know that parading around a mall can’t light a Roman candle to pirouetting around the Delta.

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for the likes of marching bands, Clydesdale horses, classic cars, dance troupes, Filipino folk dresses, Iowa Jima reeanactment floats and assorted clowns, real and perceived. Heck, what’s not to like about a red, white and blue birthday bash for 320 million folks? What inner child can’t yelp with delight at family barbecues, rockets red glare and lusty bars of Yankee Doodle Dandy?

Like a horse and carriage, love and marriage, the Fourth of July and the word celebration go hand in hand. Now some might argue, why celebrate in these hard times. I say, exactly, hard times are on us. Why wallow in the misery? Now’s precisely the time to, yes, prudently, and without touching the city coffers, have a little glee and remember our blessings.

So said, I’m trying to put together a streamlined parade with private backing. Understood, all the bells and whistles are out of the question as the whole extravaganza can run Antioch $90,000. Aerial pyrotechnics alone cost $1,000 a minute. Auto show, music stages, food booths and police coverage at double time and half can run up the tab.

I’ve been soberly putting out feelers for several weeks. I’d be willing to put together a morning parade to minimize crowd control issues. There would be no frills and a shortened route a la the Veterans Day affair. I’ve even had private security firms offer donated help and we’ve had portable restrooms generously donated in the past.

Challenge is, it’s, admittedly, late in the game that I discovered there was nothing planned this year. It is not my style to be unreasonable, to scramble, or to ask others to. I wholeheartedly commend our city staff for working so short-handed. I applaud our men and women in blue for the stellar job they are doing under the stress of acute under staffing and fully understand the police concern that even with private security they will be the ones who could get called into action.

I’m still hoping, though, that some compromise can be worked out for this year from city discussions in progress. If it can’t, then let our representatives know your interest in Fourth celebrations and maybe with longer planning we can get something cooking next year. Antioch is a patriotic town and has always boasted a certified blue ribbon Independence Day parade.

Daniel Webster would have smiled upon our past efforts as he said, “May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely than this our country.”

Walter Ruehlig

2 Comments to “Looks Like Another Silent 4th of July in Antioch”

  1. Arne Simonsen says:

    It is a sad day when the oldest city in Contra Costa County with over 100,000 residents cannot find a way to celebrate our nation’s independence.

    • Publisher says:

      We will. We’re working to at least have a parade.
      There’s no reason it should cost any money.
      We can use VIP’s to handle the traffic control.
      We’re only going to be shutting down part of 2nd Street for a couple hours.
      Please email the Mayor and Councilmembers and let them know your thoughts.
      Allen Payton

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