We held the Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award contest earlier this year so the winner, Wendy Read, could ride in the Fourth of July Parade.

At first, it seemed unfortunate that because I waited so long to enter, our parade placement came toward the tail end. But because of that, the seven of us in our “float” — Don Parker, Bob Krone (Max and Bea’s son), Wendy and her daughter Shelby, me, my grandson Carter and his friend Emma, walked to Fern Valley Corners, and watched and cheered nearly all of the parade from there. Yea for the bagpipes, Idyllwild’s own annual marching band.

While we cruised down N. Circle in Don’s really cool, leather-interior, turbo-charged 1957 Chevy Bel Air (yeah, it was a smooth ride), Wendy and I noted the so, so many unfamiliar faces in the crowd. And what a large crowd.

At the end of the ride, Carter and I met up with family at the festival where the kids enjoyed the  inflatables and games, and the adults sat under a tent just to cool off. That occasional cloud blocking the sun offered some relief.

We headed off to the American Legion later to dive into some deep-pit barbecue and hang with family, then home to crash.

I love the Fourth of July spirit in our town and sharing it with visitors. I love that once our parade was so small the entries went around the route twice so it seemed larger, but now it contains Riverside bagpipers, as well as Hemet, Palm Springs and even San Marcos auto clubs. And yet, it  hasn’t lost that small-town feel.

Our Rotarians, led by Bob Parish, and Mountain Community Patrol take on a tremendous task each year herding snakes from all angles of FV Corners. Hurray for these volunteers.

Becky Clark,