Families welcome local events to celebrate their independence

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By Abbie DeMuth
For the signal

What began as a mother’s passion has become a longstanding tradition for the Mejia family.

JC Mejia has lived in Santa Clarita since 1992 and began decorating his home for the July 4th holiday to fulfill his mother’s elaborate plans.

The family loves July 4th and every year the family members do everything possible to show their appreciation for their country and its freedoms.

“We are blessed to be in this country and we are grateful for all it has to offer,” said Mejia, mentioning her motivation for the celebration.

In fact, as a dialysis patient, Mejia’s mother would make sure she was the first in line to receive her treatments before the city’s Fourth of July parade as she rolled through Old Town Newhall each year.

However, due to pandemic restrictions, the city was unable to plan its parade last year and this summer. So, to celebrate America’s independence, the city hosts its second annual Patriotic Pee-Wee Parade, which encourages residents to build miniature parade floats. Residents can also patriotically decorate the facades of their homes and businesses to win prizes.

This year’s prime theme is America Emerging with Patriotic Enthusiasm to celebrate patriotism and freedoms after months of quarantine, according to a press release from city officials.

For the Mejias, participating in the July 4th Patriotic Tour gives the city an extreme sense of community, which was vital given the months of quarantine, he said.

“Even with more time at home, there was still a sense of community,” he added.

While participating in the 2020 Patriotic Tour, the Santa Clarita Trolley visited Mejia’s house and his neighbors had fun taking photos and sharing with his family.

The city created a “safe party” atmosphere for individuals by supporting the community his family experienced in the competition. His family’s participation is not for prizes, he added, but out of pride.

“It’s not more,” he said. “We already received our award when we got here.”

Ella Fernandez celebrates July 4th in 2019. A year later, Ella was elected Grand Marshall of the July 4th Pee-Wee Parade Patriotic Tour of Santa Clarita. Courtesy photo

Fun for the whole family

Last July 4th, there was an unexpected knock on the Fernandez family’s door. Ella Fernandez was greeted by then Mayor Cameron Smyth and a patriotically hand-decorated Santa Clarita Transit Trolley. Ella Fernandez was chosen as the first Mini Grand Marshall of Santa Clarita to announce the winners of the Pee Wee Parade.

In the car were the members of the Santa Clarita City Council going to the Old Town Newhall Library to announce the Patriotic Tour winners. Ella and her mother drove through town to announce the announcement.

Edna Fernandez shared how the pandemic had seriously affected her daughter’s mental health. Celebrating city events, however, gave Ella something to look forward to and served as a link with her mother.

“The whole pandemic has affected their mental health and even their emotional health,” Edna said. “It was very difficult for her to even finish school. In the last month of school, she didn’t even want to finish her duties because she was burned out. She was looking forward to the summer vacation and that. ”

The 2021 Mini Grand Marshall will announce the winners of the July 4th Patriotic Tour on Sunday July 4th. To be selected, parents or guardians are asked to submit a photo of their child in their most patriotic attire.

The winners of this year’s Patriotic Tour will be determined by a jury led by City Councilor Laurene Weste.

The city has also announced the return of the July 4th fireworks display, previously canceled due to the 2020 pandemic. The fireworks will take place on Magic Mountain Parkway and Citrus Street on Sunday, July 4th at 9:15 pm.