In the span of one Memorial Day weekend featuring a Pancake Breakfast, a solemn, thoughtful Veterans Ceremony, Walks Into History, a joyous parade, a thrilling Carnival to benefit Kiddo! and some fantastic live music, it seemed all of Mill Valley collectively breathed out a sigh of relief, gratitude and renewal.
The I Love a Parade committee – Larry “the Hat” Lautzker, Clifford Waldeck and Paul Moe – expanded the scope of this year’s event to include the Ukraine, for all those who have “lost their lives fighting for our freedom” in conflicts worldwide, with a portion of the parade registration and sponsorship proceeds going to Ukraine Relief. “These men and woman have given their lives so the world can be a safer place!” Lautzker says.
The parade steered toward the glory days of Mill Valley parades featuring Color Guard and dogs marching, a trophy for best dog, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, bikes, skateboards, Redwoods Drum Corps, Veterans float, lots of kids and more, including, of course, the “Famous4 Fashion Police “protecting our children from being exposed to and the damage caused by reckless coordination, bad banana khaki karma, excessive accessorizing and other violations that harm our kids ideas of fashion understanding and confidence,” Lautzker says.
Of the dozens of parade entries awarded for Best Car, Best Float, Best Dog, Best Music, Best Novelty, Best Business, Best Community Spirit and Best Overall, the big winner was the Tim Ryan Family Float, a visually dazzling pickup truck float that asked a simple question: “What are you grateful for?” and encouraged attendees to “Have Unprotected Gratitude.”
After the parade, the community streamed over to Friends Field at the Mill Valley Community Center, where Kiddo!, (in collaboration with Mill Valley Recreation, The City of Mill Valley and Lautzker’s Famous4 Productions) hosted a free “Concert on the Green” featuring music from Catfight, Wreckless Strangers, and other special guests.