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Lions look to revive parade

May 31, 2006|By Alicia Robinson

Members of the Costa Mesa-Newport Harbor Lions Club will be heating up the oil for their annual fish fry this weekend, but they'll also try to light a fire under residents to revive the popular parade that was discontinued 1998.

The Lions, with support from the Costa Mesa Community Foundation, want to reinstate the parade as part of the 2007 fish fry.

They'll have a booth at this year's event encouraging people to sign petitions supporting the parade or volunteer to help put it together, and the city fire association's fire truck will drive by the fish fry at Lions Park on Saturday with banners about the parade.

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The parade was a big part of past fish fry events, Lions Club President Mike Scheafer said. It included community groups such as Boy Scout troops and school bands, local dignitaries and celebrity grand marshals, and the route went down Harbor Boulevard, 19th and Anaheim streets, and ended at Lions Park.

But when the city was renovating the park, the fish fry was moved to Orange Coast College, and officials canceled the parade. Scheafer said it had become too costly ? about $15,000 for police assistance and barricades to close streets ? and it required too much manpower for the Lions to handle. Also, some Harbor Boulevard business owners threatened lawsuits because they didn't want the street closed, Scheafer said.

What's changed is the Costa Mesa Community Foundation is getting involved. The group has donated $3,000 as seed money and will help sign people up to support the parade and organize it.

One of the group's goals is to work on activities that enhance community pride, and when foundation board members were brainstorming, they thought of the parade, foundation board member Bill Turpit said.

"It's always sort of a topic of conversation at the fish fry about the good old days, so it was a natural connection," Turpit said.

Scheafer said officials are contemplating a new parade route that would begin near Placentia Avenue and 19th Street and travel down 19th to Park Avenue or Anaheim Street.

"I'm sure some [people] will be concerned that it'll affect their businesses," he said, but it could actually help shops along the route.

"When I was in high school, I worked at the McDonald's on 19th Street, and when the fish fry parade happened, it was the busiest day of the year for us," he said.

The 2006 fish fry will be held at Lions Park, 567 W. 18th St., Costa Mesa, from about 11 a.m. until dusk Saturday and Sunday. The event includes food, rides, games, live entertainment, prize drawings, the Miss Costa Mesa pageant and a baby beauty contest.

What do you think of a plan to bring back the Fish Fry Parade ? keep it or throw it back? Call our Readers Hotline at (714) 966-4664 or send e-mail to dailypilot@ latimes.com. Please spell your name and tell us your hometown and phone numbers for verification purposes only.

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