People from all over the state lined Kraemer Boulevard from Yorba Linda Boulevard to Tri City Park on Saturday, Oct. 12 in honor of the 55th annual Placentia Heritage Festival.
The festival started off with a parade down Kraemer Boulevard from the intersection of Yorba Linda Boulevard and ended in Tri City Park where a food festival, music festival, high school band competition and car show all took place until 3 p.m. that afternoon.
“Today we are celebrating my theme of ‘do the right thing’ where we celebrate everyday heroes in our community,” declared Placentia Mayor Rhonda Schader. “Throughout the parade there’s other heroes such as veterans and public safety heroes like our fire department and police. It’s just a day to celebrate all that’s good in Placentia.”
The festival wasn’t just about Placentia’s heritage and heroes. The celebration included people from all over Southern California.
“We’ve got bands from all over the state actually,” stated former Fullerton College Student Senator, Placentia City Councilman Chad Wanke. “Not just local cities, not just North Orange County, but all over. This is one of the few parades that has a band review where bands all over can enter and get judged.”
High school bands from San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Riverside Counties competed in the parade.
Miss Placentia 2019, Ashley Nelson also supported her city by participating in the parade.
Engelberg Franchek, an immigrant from Amsterdam, Netherlands was out peddling noisemakers, candy, hats, and horns to parade viewers. To him, the parade was a great opportunity for families to enjoy each other’s company.
“Happy kids, happy parents,” he said. “Look at this beautiful parade and these beautiful bands. Everybody’s having a good time, look at these kids with their parents.”
One particular happy family was the Siksnus’ of Placentia. In their backyard overlooking the parade route, they built a custom parade viewing suite that sat their family and friends comfortably.
The Honorary Grand Marshall of the parade was 94 year-old World War II Navy veteran, Phil Montano. He rode down the parade route in a 1942 Willys jeep driven by Orange County Fish and Wildlife volunteer, Michael Geraci.
Montano was picked as the grand marshal for his example of excellence throughout his life. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Montano felt it was his duty as a good American to join the war effort. After waiting for a while in line for the Marine recruiter, Montano jumped into the Navy recruiting line and never looked back.
Ever since that fateful day, Montano lived a prosperous life and started a family. His grandson and great grandchildren rode with him for the parade in the back of the Jeep.
Some Fullerton Hornets involved in the Placentia Parks and Recreation Dept. saw the parade as a beneficial leisure for their friends to get together. Freshman Kinesiology Major, Mason Mercado and Hartlyn Bettenhausen were out directing cars to parking spaces in the Tuffree Middle School field.
“The community gets together,” stated Mercado. “I wanted to be with friends. They asked me to get together. We checked out the car show. There’s some interesting stuff here; some good food and good music.”
Next year, the 56th annual Placentia Heritage Festival will return to Tri City Park and Kraemer Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.