Seven Celebrities and Five Olympians to be Honored at 58th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Parade

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – Emmy Award‐winning KTLA sportscaster Derrin Horton has been named Theme Grand Marshal and Miss California, Bree Morse, has been named Celebrity Grand Marshal of the 58th annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival parade on Saturday, May 28th. The four‐day festival will be held Memorial Day Weekend Friday, May 27th through Monday, May 30th, 2016. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Local Sports Heroes,” and in support of the theme, five Olympic gold medalists will be in the parade along with the top boy and girl athletes from each of the seven Garden Grove high schools. Olympians include Shirley Babashoff, Dr. Sammy Lee, Bruce Furniss, Cliff Meidl and Dr. Lance Larson.

Miss California Bree Morse is the 91st Miss California. Bree Morse is a 23‐year‐old Orange County, California native. She is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. Last September she competed for the title of Miss America, and although she did not come home with the crown, she was a beautiful representative of the state. She continues to be an advocate for her platform, “Alopecia Areata Advocacy,” Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and an ambassador for a number of the organization’s sponsors. Due to her own experience with alopecia areata, she speaks on behalf of those living with silent diseases, and many struggling to accept their physical differences. Morse is a certified substitute teacher in Southern California. With the scholarship she earned, she plans to obtain a credential in English.

Derrin Horton is currently a sportscaster for KTLA‐TV. For the past 22 years, Derrin has hosted, anchored, reported and called play by play for some of the largest sports networks in America. Since 2004, Horton reported from the sidelines and has hosted shows for many NFL Network productions. He spent the previous five years at KCAL‐TV in Los Angeles anchoring “Sports Central,” and was the main feature reporter for Channel 9’s coverage of Los Angeles Lakers basketball. While at KCAL, Derrin won an Emmy for his coverage of the Special Olympics. He holds a dual degree in broadcast journalism and political philosophy from Syracuse University. During college he interned and worked at CBS Sports, WFAN Radio, WCBS‐TV, WTVH‐TV and WSTM‐TV. In 1998, Derrin joined Fox Sports Net as a sideline reporter on the Conference USA package, then as a college football and basketball announcer for ESPN. He’s also called games for ABC Sports, NFL Network and Fox Sports Net’s coverage of NFL Europe, and for CBS Sports. An athlete himself, he has even competed against professional athletes in the Spike TV reality show “Pros vs. Joes,” where he finished second in the competition, losing in overtime.

Dr. Sammy Lee, now 96 years old, is the first American of Asian descent to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States. The diminutive diver, just five‐feet tall, had to overcome much discrimination. He received his MD at the USC medical school in 1947, becoming an ear, nose and throat specialist. While in school, Sammy squeezed in diving practice, but was only allowed at the Los Angeles Swim Stadium and Brookside pool one day a week, then the pool was emptied and replenished with fresh water the next day. In 1942, at the age of 22, Sammy competed in the National Diving Championships and become the first non‐Caucasian to win. In 1948 he won his first Olympic gold medal in the IOM platform and a bronze medal in the 3M springboard. In the 1952 Olympic Games, Sammy won his second gold medal in the IOM platform. At 32, he was the oldest person to win a gold medal in diving, and the first male diver to win back‐to‐back diving gold medals. He later coached Bob Webster to two gold medals and Greg Louganis to a silver medal. He is the only Asian‐American to have won the James E. Sullivan award as the U.S. outstanding amateur athlete.

Shirley Babashoff was the most successful female U.S. Olympian prior to the 1990s, with a total of eight Olympic medals. She is recognized as one of the greatest freestyle swimmers of all time. Babashoff set six world records in individual events and shared in an additional five in relays. She also set thirty‐seven U.S. records (seventeen individual and twenty relay), and at one time held the U.S. freestyle record at every distance from 100‐meter to 800‐meter. She has garnered twenty‐seven AAU titles in addition to taking the 200‐meter and 400‐meter individual gold medals at the 1975 World Championships. At the 1976 Olympic Trials she won every freestyle event and the 400‐meter individual medley. She set three U.S. records in the heats and three more in the finals, and broke the world record in the 800‐meter freestyle. This ranks among the greatest swimming feats of all time. In 2005, Babashoff received the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic Movement.

Cliff Meidl was the 2000 USA Olympian Flagbearer. When this kayaker led his U.S. Olympian teammates onto the field, many of the two billion viewers learned of his courageous rehabilitation from a tragic 1986 construction accident. Meidl had jackhammered into a buried power line that sent 30,000 volts of electricity through him. He suffered three cardiac arrest episodes and was “gone” for more than two minutes before being revived. He endured fifteen surgeries and spent over three years on crutches. The accident nearly forced the amputation of his legs; however, they were saved due to an innovative surgical procedure. At first, he turned to canoeing and kayaking for therapeutic value then pursued an aggressive weight lifting and conditioning regimen. In 1995, Meidl won gold, silver and bronze medals in kayaking events at the U.S. Olympic Festival in Denver. He made two U.S. Olympic teams, a feat that only 15 percent of all Olympians accomplish. Today, an active financial analyst, he enjoys sharing his inspirational story with diverse audiences across the U.S.

Swimmer Bruce Furniss broke ten World and nineteen American records, and won 11 AAU and 6 NCAA Titles over a seventeen year period, in spite of waging a personal battle against the crippling arthritic disease, ankylosing spondylitis, an affliction he had since age 16. As a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team, Bruce won two gold medals in the 200‐meter Freestyle, one of only three Americans to ever win this Olympic event, as well as the 4 x 200‐meter freestyle relay, setting world records in each event. Bruce also garnered two gold and two silver medals in World Championship competitions in 1975 and 1978. In 2004, he was recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. Bruce became the twelfth of only fourteen Americans to break the 200‐meter freestyle world record, which he accomplished four different times. He held the 200‐meter freestyle world record from 1975 to 1979. His 1976 Olympic gold medal victory would outlast seven Olympic Quadrennials before being equaled in 2008 by Michael Phelps. Bruce was twice named World Swimmer of the Year. He is a founding board member of Swim with Mike, a non‐profit organization which provides college scholarships to physically challenged athletes.

Lance Larson competed at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, where he received a gold medal for swimming the butterfly leg of the men’s 4×100‐meter medley relay for the winning U.S. team. The U.S. relay team set a new world record of 4:05.4. Individually, Larson also received a silver medal in the men’s 100‐meter freestyle at the 1960 Olympics. Initially, John Devitt of Australia was originally listed as the winner of the men’s 100‐meter freestyle race; however, both Larson and Devitt finished with the identical time of 55.2 seconds. Results were decided by finish judges who relied on their eyes and did not use replays. The official results placed Devitt first and Larson second. The United States team appealed, bolstered by videotaped footage of the finish that appeared to show Larson the winner. The controversy would pave the way for electronic touchpads to be included in swimming events to determine finish and accurate timing. Larson went on to break the 100‐meter butterfly world record twice in 1960: first, setting the new record of 59.0 seconds on June 29, 1960; and again, a new record of 58.7 seconds on July 24, 1960.

Matthew Moy currently plays Han Lee on the hit sitcom “2 Broke Girls,” now entering its 6th season. He has also starred on “Scrubs,” “The Middle,” “Criminal Minds,” and many more. Moy describes himself as a third‐ or fourth‐generation Chinese‐American. He attended the University of California, Davis, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese and a minor in linguistics. He has also appeared on “How I Met Your Mother,” “Criminal Minds,” “Zeke and Luther,” “Good Luck Charlie,” and “Kickin’ It,” and had a recurring role as Shawn the Mathlete on “iCarly.” He played Trang on “Scrubs” and has guest starred on “Big Time Rush” and “The Middle,” as well as on the reality game show “Cha$e.” He voices Lars on the Cartoon Network animated series “Steven Universe” and played Chuck in the film “No Strings Attached” opposite Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman.

Camryn Grimes is an actress and producer, known for her roles in “The Young and the Restless,” “Swordfish” and “Magic Mike.” She played Cassie Newman on “The Young and the Restless” starting in 1997. In 2000, at age 10, she became the youngest winner ever of the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series. She has also guest‐starred on “Medium,” “JAG,” and “ER,” on which her maternal uncle, Scott Grimes, was a cast member.

Jae Head, at age 19, just wrapped his newest feature film, “Depraved,” as Scott. His last film, “Bravetown,” was released last year in which he plays Tony. He is best known for his role as SJ Tuoey in the OSCAR‐ nominated movie “The Blindside” (with Sandra Bullock), as well as his role as Aaron in Hancock (with Charlize Theron and Will Smith) and his voiceover role as Cody in “Robosapien: Rebooted.” He has also had recurring roles as Bo Miller on “Friday Night Lights” and has guest “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Angriest Man in Suburbia,” “MadTV,” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Forrest Wheeler loves his current role as Emery, the middle child of the Huang family on the ABC primetime TV series “Fresh Off the Boat” which has been renewed for Season 3. His first acting class was at the age of seven. It was the beginning of his career working on commercials, live performances, talk shows, voice‐overs and TV shows including “Community,” “New Girl” and “Chasing Life.” Forrest’s first job on the big screen was in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” in which he played a Cambodian boy. He also had roles as the young Kuai‐Liang in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy II” and the in the movie “Such Good People.” His many other activities include Xtreme Martial arts, Hip Hop, drumming and tennis. He speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Johnny Ortiz starred as Tony Gutierrez on season one of ABC’s Emmy and Golden Globe nominated “American Crime.” His newest film “Soy Nero” ‐ in which he has the leading role ‐ recently premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Additional film credits include Disney’s “McFarland USA” and “Strike One.” Johnny is currently filming a new pilot entitled “Citizen for Hulu.” When not on the set, Johnny continues working on a college degree. He speaks English, Spanish, basic Chinese and Russian and enjoys most sports including several Martial Arts. He also plays the drums and flute. Passionate about giving back to the community, he is on the advisory board of The Unusual Suspects and supports The Apex Protection Project which rescues tortured and abandoned wolf dogs, then rehabilitates them into therapy dogs for inner‐city kids. “Life Hand” ‐ Latinos in Film and Entertainment ‐ is Johnny’s own non‐profit dedicated to helping at‐risk kids achieve new dreams by creating education‐based after‐school programs with substance, where they can learn something (like playing an instrument) that could change their lives, and have a positive effect on their families and the community.

Erika Vidro, known as “La Potranca,” is a popular on‐air personality on the Spanish radio station Radio Centro 94.7. In the morning she brings back the oldies and at noon she inspires listeners to dance with the best cumbias. Erika is also an accomplished recording artist and composer who has worked with many popular artists including La Trakalosa de Monterrey, La Original Banda el Limon, Banda Recodo, Los Rieleros del Norte, Horoscopos de Durango, and El Chapo de Sinaloa.

Murray Wyatt Rundus plays Wendell in the new Disney XD’s show “Gamers Guide To Pretty Much Everything,” now in its second season with record‐breaking viewership and ratings. He is genuinely an avid gamer in his own right. Murray began his professional acting career in dinner theatre, which ultimately landed him the role of Pugsley for the National Broadway Tour of “The Addams Family.” This exposure led to roles on “Sam and Cat,” “Bella and the Bulldogs” and “The Birthday Boys.” He will be appearing in the movie “Dear Eleanor” scheduled for release in theaters this year. The movie is directed by Kevin Connolly and features Jessica Alba, Luke Wilson, Liana Liberato and Isabelle Fuhrman. When not acting, he enjoys gaming, playing Warhammer and watching football.

Miss Garden Grove Raena Ramirez and Miss Garden Grove Outstanding Teen Jenna Tower will ride on a float with their courts. Children will be charmed by Knott’s Berry Farm’s Snoopy, Great Wolf Lodge’s Wiley the Wolf, Ronald McDonald and an Angry Bird.
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL 

garden-grove-strawberry-festival-2016-med3The festival will be held Memorial Day Weekend, Friday, May 27th through Monday, May 30th, 2016. Friday hours are 1:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Special one‐price ride‐all‐day wristbands will be offered at $30 per wristband on Friday and $35 each on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Tickets for individual rides can also be purchased separately at $1 per ticket. Proceeds benefit local non‐profits.

The four‐day charity event, the second largest city festival in the Western United States, will be held at the Village Green between Main Street and Euclid Avenue in downtown Garden Grove. Last year’s attendance was more than 300,000. Highlights include the Friday evening official giant strawberry cake‐cutting ceremony at 6:00 p.m. at the Showmobile (Acacia & Main streets) when free strawberry shortcake is served to more than 2,000 people. On Saturday morning, there will be a City of Garden Grove sister‐city 5K Run and a festival VIP celebrity breakfast at the Garden Grove Community Center, with proceeds going to Casa Garcia’s We Give Thanks. This is followed by a parade that starts at 10 a.m. with celebrities, floats, bands, equestrians, athletes and characters. All four festival days will include 35 carnival rides, four contests, over 200 food and shopping booths, games, music and live entertainment. Contests, held in the amphitheater, include the Berry, Berry Beautiful Baby Contest, Redhead Roundup, Strawberry Idol Karaoke and Tiny Tots King and Queen.

Sponsorship support this year comes from Southern California Ford Dealers, McDonalds, Sam’s Club, GGTPC, Great Destinations, Clear Channel Outdoor, Brandywine Homes, Parenting OC, El Panamericano, Korea Times, Nguoi Viet Daily News, OC News and its community newspapers, OC Weekly, Farandula USA, Miniondas, and radio stations 103.4 MYfm, KOST, JACK FM, KDAY‐FM, KWVE, KWIZ, KABC, KLOS, Air 1 Radio, KSWD the Sound LA, KLYY, KSSE, Radio Centro 94.7, The Wave and KEARTH 101.

For additional information, call (714) 638‐0981 or visit www.strawberryfestival.org.  

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