The selection of grand marshal is typically an honor bestowed on community members who have participated in good deeds in Del Norte County. The grand marshal usually has a list of accomplishments and associations.
One such grand marshal was Sam Lopez, a member of the How-on-quet Tribe of Smith River. He celebrated his 86th birthday in 1972, the same year of his service to Crescent City.
Barbara Mann, a nurse at Seaside Hospital, was the grand marshal for the 1981 Fourth of July parade. She was a counselor for Future Nurses Association at Del Norte High School and a member of the Emergency Department Nurses Association.
Grand marshal and businessman Andrew Tomasini was grand marshal in 1985. A transplanted Italian, he arrived in California on March 15, 1911. His Fort Dick Tavern business was opened in 1930.
At that time, Prohibition was law and the establishment was an ice cream and sandwich shop. In 1933 he obtained his liquor license, which became the oldest held in the county.
The main feature of Crescent City’s Fourth of July festivities usually showcases Class B explosives. Class B is one level below dynamite.
Round explosives are called shells and have no military function. The multi-colored display may take 24 minutes to use $3,000 worth of ammo.
A pyrotechnics license is required to perform the duty. Pyrotechnics also found in local stores and firework stands have entertained residents for years.
Modern laws prevent the use of fireworks – such as Blackcats, Roman Candles, and Bottle Rockets – used in the earlier decades of the 1900s. Fireworks used in the neighbor’s yard now may include Giant Silver Screamers, Devil’s Delights and Peacock Fountains.
The parade of floats in the downtown area was another staple of festivities. In 1961, a small rodeo was held at the Del Norte Roping Arena on Northcrest Drive.
Holiday concessions operated on the beach at the end of H street. Food items normally included Chinese potstickers, Italian sausage sandwiches, clam chowder, shrimp, doughboys, tostadas, corn on the cob and Pronto Pups.
Dessert treats traditionally included cotton candy, blueberry and whipped cream covered Mooncraters, snowcones and ice cream bars. As celebrations grew through the years, the event began to draw people from outside of Del Norte County.
There really is nothing like a good old-fashioned Independence Day celebration — like a Crescent City Fourth-of-July.