Annual July 4th event explodes with community spirit


By Susan Wolking

Who needs fireworks when you have oodles of adorable kids, dogs, and even a pony marching around a parking lot to celebrate the birth of our nation?

A record crowd showed up this year for the annual Hidden Meadows 4th of July Parade and Picnic held in the parking lot below the Oaks Grill.   Attendance was estimated at almost 250 people, and dozens of families and individuals participated in the actual parade.

Andy Parker did a marvelous job as Master of Ceremonies and flag holder.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, Ciara Atencio wowed the crowd with a beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Ciara grew up in Hidden Meadows, graduated from Classical Academies and is currently performing as a princess with Royal Entertainers and in a local band called Deja Groove.  She will be attending SDSU in the fall, where she will be studying engineering and music.

Denise Haase and her grandchildren led off the parade, carrying a banner made by Briana Crysler.  The freeform procession that followed included decorated golf carts and wagons filled with people of all ages, children whizzing by on scooters and trikes, and animals prancing around in patriotically-colored outfits.

Several activity tables were set up for kids before and after the show.  Volunteers helped out with face painting, flag-themed art projects and a bubble gum blowing contest.

The Hidden Meadows Community Foundation provided hot dogs and buns, which were cooked up by master grillers Bob Boomer and Roy Sciacca.  The fire station across the street lent a barbecue grill, and numerous residents helped fill up the refreshment tables with donations of fruit, cookies and water.

Despite the hungry crowd, there were several packages of hot dogs left over at the end of the picnic.  A quick call was made to Interfaith Community Services, which readily accepted the extra food as a donation.  Their cooks were in the process of preparing a holiday cookout for the homeless veterans staying in the ICS facility, so the timing was perfect!

Kudos to Sue Sciacca, chair of this year’s event, and her enthusiastic team of volunteers.  They did a spectacular job.  Community celebrations like this make one proud to be American… and to live in a place like Hidden Meadows.