No one knows who started the Fourth of July parade on Pepper Drive in Altadena or when it began, but the best recollections are that it began sometime in the late 50’s.
By Jerry Friedman
The tradition lasted for a decade or so; at some point, the residents stopped parading to celebrate the 4th. That is until Monica Hubbard moved onto Pepper and got the whole thing going again! Monica had lived nearby and her experience of the parade really stuck with her.
In 1973 Monica marched in the parade while she was 8 months pregnant! The parade always has been a neighborhood and family event. There is no committee and there is no board to meet and resolve anything, yet for nearly 50 years the neighborhood has been parading. Because of that, no one ever knows exactly what to expect…Of course there will be kids on bikes and skates and scooters. ATV’s? Dogs of course, and decorations. There might be horses or marching bands but there will be floats! Everyone gets to display their creativity in what ever way they can imagine and it’s always a surprise to see what the neighbors come up with. Decorations are a big part of this potentially zany celebration and almost everything gets the treatment. Dogs, kids, houses, trees, and bikes, almost nothing is spared.
The party starts with some neighbors hosting buffet breakfasts. As the parade flows down the street, neighbors share food and drink as they stop and visit. At the bottom of the hill, there always is a party of one kind or other. In the 70’s and 80’s there was an actual social event–an afternoon potluck on the Allen Estate, the home of the original family for which the local street was named. Now it is a little less formal, but there definitely will be a large party on the 1700 block of Pepper Drive!
There are many deep roots on Pepper Drive. Many residents have lived there for decades, and they have raised families together. The 4th of July parade is a celebration of our independence, but on Pepper drive it is also a celebration of connectedness.
The kids will start things off at 10:00 am, so be sure to arrive early! The parade is short, only two blocks. The Altadena Twirlers will be marching for the first time this year and that’s generating quite a bit of excitement. Originally just a neighborhood thing, in the last few years its popularity has been growing, so this year the expectation is that this will be the biggest parade Pepper Drive ever has had!
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