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Friday, July 3, 2015

Fourth of July Parade in Pepper Drive Neighborhood Thrives Year After Year

4th-of-July-Parade-at-Pepper-Drive-Altadena

Pepper Drive is going to be lively and colorful again this Fourth of July, when residents put on what they say is Altadena’s longest “and possibly oldest” neighborhood Independence Day parade in town.

“We think the parade began a year or two before 1958, the earliest that any of our neighbors can recall,” says Monica Hubbard, a Pepper Drive resident and regular parade goer.

Since then, it has become a yearly informal activity where people just show up before 10 a.m. on July 4 in varying degrees of festive holiday attire, bringing their children, dogs, horses, bikes and strollers — whatever that can be decorated with the red-white-and-blue.

It’s the kind of neighborhood parade where more people are in the parade instead of watching on the side of the street and cheering participants on.

When the parade starts, it’s mostly kids on bikes at the head, followed in some years by a really small parade band “a tuba player, a drummer, and a cymbalist are typical.” If there were any vehicles in the parade, they would be mostly kids’ bikes, pull carts for the kids who may get tired too easily, and an ATV or two with buckets that follow behind horses and pick up whatever the animals leave behind.

“Some years, there are floats, singers, musicians, sometimes speeches a few years ago,” says Hubbard as she talks about previous parades. “It’s a nice chance to celebration our nation’s independence day and visit with neighbors for a little while.”

No one really organizes the Pepper Drive parade.

“The only thing that is organized is the gathering at the end of the parade where we all meet at the Buennagel home (Albert and Jean Buennagel) and bring treats to share,” says Hubbard.

The Buennagel home in the 1700 block of Pepper Drive is where the parade ends and where the participants share cookies, drinks and lemonade “and maybe stories about last year’s parade.”

It’s small town America at its best.

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