Belmont Shore Christmas Parade. Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.
Belmont Shore Christmas Parade. Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. (Mark Savage)

Belmont Shore Parade judging a festive job

SATURDAY, PART III: Here it is, Thursday, and we're still writing about Saturday which, you'll recall, began with your sleepy correspondent padding out in his slippers to change the brake light bulbs on his wife's Volkswagen and failing and failing until he took it in to a dealer who poked around and found $1,875 worth of things that had gone wrong with the car as determined by spinning a big Wheel of Misfortune in the back of the service bay, after which he found that his dog Jimmy had gone missing, which ate up a couple of hours of panic before he found him at a considerate neighbor's house.

If you'd read our column every day like you're supposed to, we wouldn't have to do these recaps and we could already be well into the balance of our Saturday, which was judging floats at the 30th annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade.

This was supposed to have been the most difficult part of our day. We had planned to lie on the sofa all day long until it was time to go to the pre-party reception, but instead it was one horrifying event after another right up till parade time.

We've had a lifelong aversion to parades. We remember seeing the Miss Universe Parade down Ocean Boulevard in 1959, when we were just 4 years old, and we screamed and bolted down the boulevard while our new and disgusted stepmother chased us and promised to take us home if we would only stop howling in fear.


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We've simmered down a little bit in the intervening years to the point where we now will attend a parade, but only as a judge or, in the case of an emergency, as a grand marshal.

We really enjoyed this year's Belmont Shore parade. For one thing, the pre-party was catered by Nick's on 2nd, so right off the bat we had the best deviled eggs you can get, plus some summer squash soup and something we had no idea what it was, though we suspect it was duck.

For another, we were seated next to the tag team of parade announcers, anchored by a veteran announcer, a clean-faced Bruce MacRae, minus his lifelong porn-stache, with color by the always delightful Megan Garvey, and, working the street, Belmont Shore Business Association executive director Dede Rossi.

It was the best coverage we've seen/heard at the parade, especially MacRae's hollering at co-grand marshal Misty May-Treanor, after the women's beach volleyball gold medalist said she wants to start a family, "You'll be pregnant by Easter, Misty! Pregnant by Easter!"

Her husband, former Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor, was co-grand marshal.

This was our fourth time as a judge at the parade, during which time we have risen to the rank of Head Judge of Floats, which is the highest civilian honor that is bestowed in Belmont Shore. Our underjudges were Bixby Knolls superhero Blair Cohn, Long Beach city project director/guitarist Jim Fisk and Long Beach Chamber of Commerce veep Joel Perler.

After interminable negotiations that went long into the night (and which featured a violent fistfight and barely suppressed coup when we lobbied loudly in favor of the Press-Telegram entry) we finally emerged with the slate of this year's winners:

Spectator Appeal: Moxi Skate Shop and Scratch-Tracks.

Best Use of Theme (Go for the Gold!): Long Beach Pride.

Originality of Design: Deep Blue Scuba & Swim.

Honorable Mention: Westerly School (this is the award we wanted to give the Press-Telegram float, an elaborate affair featuring people in red sweatshirts with letters spelling out the city's venerable newspaper's name, plus a mascot, "Petey," which is a rolled-up newspaper with a face. We argued against Westerly because the school wouldn't let our daughter in unless we paid a "tuition." Pretty fancy word for wetting the beak of the admissions office).

To see just how difficult a parade judge's job is (and multiply that difficulty by 10 for the head judge job), check out the parade in replays. The show, produced as always by Ron Petke for Charter, will run on Charter Channel 101 at 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23.

tgrobaty@yahoo.com, 562-714-2116 or twitter.com/grobaty