solano mission bellOn so many levels, Sonoma’s Fourth of July parade is exactly what you’d want it to be. So I feel a little mean criticizing. I just think it could be so much better. Not that I’m actually complaining. I’m just wondering whose friend I have to be and how many ballot boxes I’d have to stuff to get on the planning committee — if, indeed, there is one. ‘Cause I’ve got ideas folks. It’s called a theme. For instance, this is the 175th anniversary of the building of Sonoma Plaza? Where were the floats commemorating that and other aspects of Sonoma’s history? Where were the Cub Scouts and the Future Farmers of America leading heifers? Didn’t see them and they certainly would have added to the mix. Still, there is a lot to recommend Sonoma’s July Fourth Parade.

I love the old cars! There are always dozens of vintage cars in the parade.

And the Hometown Band is always the highlight for me. It’s composed of high school band geeks and adults who always kept band camp deep in their hearts.

Bit of trivia: Cousin John once played in the Sonoma Hometown Band.

You can't beat a good Sousa march. Especially played by locals in funny hats.

So I was ready to go with the zombies dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

A salute to Michael Jackson? Not really anything to do with Sonoma, but I was reserving judgement.

Then the next part of the float made it clear this was a political statement.

Then there were the “floats” by businesses that really didn’t make the effort they should have. Sorry Mr. Insurance Agent, but draping your SUV with bunting and an advertisement for your services does NOT count as a float.

Here’s my plan:

1) A Theme: Gotta have one. And I’d say every year it should be some variation on “Sonoma Heritage”, “Sonoma Through the Ages”, “A Salute to Sonoma”. You get the picture.

2) Okay, I see adhering to the theme can’t be made mandatory, but what about cash prizes for the floats that best express the theme. Oh, and only non-profits are eligible for the cash. Businesses can win for “Best Business” but c’mon. Not fair for the local Wells Fargo branch to compete in the same category as the local 4-H chapter.

3) No politics! The Republican Women’s Group can enter a float, but it has to be something non-political — like a float themed to thank the troops or a recreation of Ellis Island on the back of a flatbed truck.

Any questions? Check out the float from the Valley of the Moon Gardening Club showing good garden bugs defeating the evil Grape Vine Moth:

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

So I’m not sure if there are elections for Parade Committee. But if there are, vote for me. I’ve got scads of ideas, folks!

News Flash! Just found out the most excellent “Good Bugs vs. Bad Bugs” float from the good folks at the Valley of the Moon Garden Club won the Grand Prize. But the prize was awarded July 5th. See under my plan, judging would happen before the parade so that the winning float could march proudly displaying its award.