Balboa Island's Marine Avenue was transformed into a wave of sound and color Sunday as the island welcomed summer with the 17th annual Balboa Island Parade. This year's theme was "Family, Friends and FUN," and there was no shortage of the three.
The parade, sponsored by the Balboa Island Home Improvement Assn., consisted of 103 group entries, one of the largest ever. Entries included drill teams, children on all types of two-wheeled locomotion, floats, decorated golf carts, vintage cars, civic groups, clubs, marching bands and local dignitaries.
Organizers estimate more than 5,000 spectators were in attendance.
"It's a wonder the island doesn't sink," said Gail Vasterling, a Patio Drill Team member and parade participant.
She estimated that parade day draws Balboa's biggest single-day tourist crowd of the year.
"It really showcases the uniqueness of Balboa Island," she said.
As the parade kicked off, an Uncle Sam impersonator cruised by a gray-haired man, diverting traffic from the parade route wearing a grass skirt and coconut shells. Folks in banana costumes swayed to the music of an acoustic band on the Surf Fest float. As the parade wound through downtown, kids tooted bike horns and parents threw out buckets of candy to pleased spectators waving American flags.