By Gregg Scott
Some people have said that you really can’t appreciate the true meaning of an Independence Day celebration until you’ve been part of a ‘small town’ 4th of July festivity. Having watched or participated in over 30 such events, it has become very clear how much truth there is to that statement. What is currently known as the Lake Almanor Area Chamber 4th of July Parade, was originally called the Chester Rodeo Parade when it was first started in 1920. With the end of the Chester Rodeo and a transition to the local Chamber of Commerce sponsorship, the best estimate is that the Almanor Basin has been celebrating the Fourth for just over 100 years.
The size of the parade and the number of people attending has obviously grown over the years, with the California Highway Patrol estimating 25-30,ooo folks attending this year (2023). The parade itself took about 45 minutes from the color guard to the final entrant to pass by. There certainly seemed to be no lack of ‘Patriotism’ displayed by entries and spectators alike. Add in the Crafts Fair, Elks Barbeque Lunch and Fireworks Extravaganza and you have a ‘tidy little’ celebration.
The highlights of the parade were the Color Guard leading the way accompanied by several veterans in their 90s. Grand Marshal this year was Prattville resident and well-known Chef, Carol Franchetti. Franchetti has been ultra involved in Lake Almanor events for many years and for the past several years has been the primary force behind the Chester Community Supper program as well as the Almanor Basin Food Pantry. Just as in years past, the parade included a myriad of mostly local businesses and groups from churches, service organizations, dance and gymnastic groups and Firefighting units from many agencies. There was even an equestrian entry.