The Boss says it best in this song. Old, yet still vital, for the memories it evokes and the poignant reminder it leaves us with.
Ventura, or Ventucky as many of us fondly refer to this town, was considered a way station between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara for years. It has come into it’s own in recent times.
It’s strong native American Indian, Mission, Agricultural and Oil¬† historical foundation makes for a unique and diverse cultural cross section. A beautiful example of cultural diversity emerges today and promotes tolerance on many levels, in spite of the stress the little city is under in our current economic plunge.
If I had to pick any one thing as my little home town’s strong suite, I would choose it’s cultural diversity. There are a lot of voices in Ventura. On the day of the Ventura County Fair Parade, many of them show up. Lots of smiling faces, flags, and a unique sampling of the mindset that is Ventura California, unfolds in a pulsating rythm of humanity and color and marching music, down Main St.
Got to love a small town. Nothing gets by anybody for very long. That can be a good thing, because when a city engages transparently, accountability hangs it’s hat. With accountability, a city becomes a community. Ventura winds up with better infrastructure eventually, as a result of communal values: better PD, FD, Politicians, and City Hall. The community becomes, by virtue of the Democratic process, a best case example of the tenets of the US Constitution.
Annie and Jim Aspell, the Betty Bus’s new owners, took Donna Von Hoesslin of Betty B and Shawn Alladio of K38 along with them Saturday in a grand celebration for our community.¬† As I ran the parade line several times, going against the flow whenever possible, I found myself grinning¬† like a fool at what I saw. It really made me happy. Diversity, tolerance, simple happiness and the best cross section of what Ventura California is, rolling down Main St: brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, fathers, mothers, grandparents, daughters, sons, neighbors.
But really, it could be anywhere, USA. And it should be. My friend Kathleen Fitzgerald coined the phrase The Real California, for Ventura. To me it is bigger than that, but only because of the people who call it their home.
As a group of us leave here for Indonesia today, we go¬† as ambassadors from a place that many believe does not really exist: land of the free, home of the brave. We go walking and speaking softly, and proudly, with open arms. I hate the term Ugly American. America should never be ugly. It all starts in your home town. I love mine, and will miss it while I am away.
So if you missed the Parade, here are 60 images from 160 views of “An American Dream on Main Street.” Everybody loves a parade.
Click on the images for a full view.