57th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Parade wows fans of all ages

Lt. Col. Patricia Murray (Photo by Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR.com)

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Thousands of people lined the streets for the 57th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Parade. Not just residents from Garden Grove, but attendees came from the surrounding communities as well. It featured dozens of floats, marching bands and celebrities from movies and television shows.

“It was very nice, there were a lot of different people who came out from different communities,” said first-time parade goer Lena Hernandez, a Garden Grove resident. “Overall, it was a relaxing experience. I like the dancing horses. Those were really nice to see, very entertaining. I liked seeing the bands, the high school bands were very nice to watch. I liked seeing the dance teams, everything overall was pretty nice.”

This year’s parade honored 25 returning veterans and their families. Lt. Col. Patricia Murray was
chosen as the Theme Grand Marshal.  A former Miss California, Lt. Col. Murray is an instructor pilot for
the California Air National Guard in the 115th Airlift Squadron. Sally Kellerman’s acting career spans nearly 60 years. She’ll forever be identified with her role as “Hot
Lips” Houlihan in Robert Altman’s original film version of “M*A*S*H*,” which earned her both Oscar and
Golden Globe nominations.

“I’ve watched it a thousand times,” said parade goer Cheyanne Spindler from Garden Grove. “My favorite part was seeing my high school band, Rancho Alamitos. I liked Asia Monet Ray, she’s from ‘Dance Moms.’ It was very interesting to have breakfast with her.”

Her mother, April Spindler, added: “It’s my first time all of these years. The bands are my favorite part. Sally Kellerman was great to see. I haven’t seen her in years. We had breakfast with her. It was $7 and it went to a cause.”

In addition, thirteen TV and film stars rode on classic cars during the parade. They included Jacob Hopkins (The Goldbergs, Gumballs), Ava Kolker (Girl Meets World), Jaida‐Iman
Benjamin (Liv and Maddie), Santana Dempsey (The Newsroom), Gregg Daniel (True Blood, Spiderman 3),
Emily Robinson (Transparent), Julie Adams (Creature from the Black Lagoon), Erin Murphy (Bewitched),
Forrest Wheeler (Fresh Off the Boat), Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat), Kate Linder (The Young & The 
Restless),  Vera Jimenez (KTLA News Ch. 5), and Asia Monet Ray (Dance Moms).

“It was really fun, I love how much of a community Garden Grove is,” actress Santana Dempsey said. “I just loved meeting the people and I loved the car I was in. It was a 1942 Ford T-Bucket. I was in a parade when I was like 15 in my hometown.”

She made an appearance on the third season of the HBO drama “The Newsroom.”

“Working with Aaron Sorkin and Jeff Daniels and everyone was one of my first big dramas that I’ve done,” she added. “I was really nervous because I thought I was going to be talking with Jeff Daniels face-to-face like we are. But he’s watching me from the newsroom. So we did it on like an Apple Box. It was really cool, a great experience and a great show. I think Sorkin is a genius and also on set, if you miss a word, you can’t just improvise. It has to be word perfect. That was a little terrifying, but it worked out. He was super nice to me.”

After the parade ended, everyone made their way to the main festival area. There were dozens of vendor booths, thrill rides for the kids and even live entertainment.

Strawberries were available by the bucket for $5 or by the case for $50. In addition, there was strawberry cake and shortcake. Shortcake was the fan favorite, by far.

“It’s one of those kind of rituals,” said Jonathan Finnsson, who bought an entire case of strawberry shortcakes to enjoy with his family. “Whenever we come to the Strawberry Festival, it’s one of the places we go. I’m eating mine, but my mom couldn’t finish hers, so she put it in front of me. Every year when we come, it’s one of the things we’ve got to get.”

For more information about the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival, visit www.strawberryfestival.org.

RELATED STORY:  WATCH: Interviews at 57th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Parade , Highlights of the 2012 Parade at the Strawberry Festival of Garden Grove along Chapman Ave.


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