This year marks half a century ago when The Beatles came to America, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, President Johnson escalated the war in Vietman, Tokyo hosted the 18th Summer Olympics, the world was introduced to Diet Pepsi, and “Bewitched” premiered on ABC in September (who can forget the insufferable sarcasm of Endora). Whewwwww. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the City of Thousand Oaks and its Eichler community. Befittingly, the City and community partners are giving us a parade. And what do we think of when it comes to a parade? A long procession with horsies, fire trucks, grand marshals and grand poobahs, little cars perhaps, marching bands, cheerleaders, community leaders, politicians, special interest groups, banners, but no clowns….they can be intimidating. On September 27, festivities will kick off at 9:00am, followed by a daylong celebration, including live music brought to you by Brian’s band, The Three Rivers Band (http://www.the3rb.net) that goes on stage at The Lakes sometime around 11:00am.
To get the lowdown on the parade, Berg and Brian met up with John Short at Conejo Creek Park to chill. John met us on his Harley on a very warm and dry Saturday morning toward noon. If you’ve never been to Conejo Creek Park, it’s time you do (and while your there get yourself a library card. Physical books, like vinyl records, provide you with genuine experiences). Brian scoped out a nice shady spot under a tree “down by the river” where we sat down to speak with John. John Short is all things Conejo. His relentless support and volunteer work over the years includes president of the Thousand Oaks Little league, board member of the Conejo Recreation and Parks District, chairman of the Investment Review Committee for the city of Thousand Oaks, player in bringing back the Conejo Valley Days, and chair of The Thousand Oaks 50th Anniversary parade. As is with all the individuals that Berg and Brian have recently met through their Chillin’ efforts, John is genuine and personable. He personifies Conejo pride. As Brian succinctly puts it: “The most involved man in Thousand Oaks.”
John originally presented the idea to the City approximately five months ago. A municipal parade usually takes up to a year to plan. John’s been able to accomplish the daunting task in less than half a year. Maybe he’ll be available to organize my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah? To quote the TO Parade website, “”Remembering the past, honoring the memories” is our theme. The parade entries will replicate life 50 years ago when Thousand Oaks was founded. Join us as we take a step back in time, when life was simple, and not as fast paced. When sheep roamed the hillsides and occasionally the streets, and you could see lions and tigers, and even elephants.” I’d like to see an elephant at The TO Meat Locker waiting in line for a tri-tip sandwich. And those sheep better watch out. In order to make all this happen, John has worked tirelessly, bringing together over 90 volunteers with 20 committee members. We should expect 125 entries with equestrian units. 15 of the 18 former city mayors will be dusted off for some baby kissing, and there will be 3 original law enforcement officers………so don’t be caught double parking. At the end of the parade expect there to be built the largest Lego chain to set a Guinness Book of World Records that will raise money for the Dream Catcher Foundation (http://www.thedreamcatcherfoundation.net). All in all, the festivities are expected to draw 3 to 5 thousand Conejovites, or are we Oaksians (perhaps you all can make suggestions and sent them to Chillin’)? Chillin’ encourages everyone to bring their Conejo pride and to have a good time while still being conscientious and safe.
Hats off to John and everyone who has contributed to the parade. Volunteers are still being sought! Check the Parade website for volunteer info.