From 7-10 a.m. at Redwood Credit Union parking lot at 1010 Grant Ave, the always-eager, always-smiling volunteers from the Presbyterian Church of Novato will serve coffee, orange juice, pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee and milk to raise funds for the nonprofit North Marin Community Services (formerly Novato Youth Center and Novato Human Needs). The suggested donation is $7 for adults, $5 for kids ages 5-12 and free for those younger than 5.
In addition to the dozens of official entries in the parade, there are a bunch more who provide entertainment before the 10 a.m. official start of the much-anticipated Independence Day procession. They are the warm-up acts that get us all in a patriotic mood. If you arrive early – and you should! – make sure to put your hands together for the following entertainers:
People of Note This is a 16-piece swing band playing music from the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s on Grant Avenue down near Dr. Insomniac’s Fine Coffee & Tea & Smoothies Cafe. They play once a month between September and June at the Margaret Todd Senior Center for just a $5 entry fee. This is the 21st year the band has played for the Fourth of July Parade crowd.
Mr. SHAP With this talented balloon artist, Super Happenings Always Possible (SHAP!). This San Franciscan is making his ninth parade appearance.
Fountain of Ukes At the parking lot adjacent to the old Pini building (1107 Grant Ave.), this big ukulele band brings instant smiles. They play every Friday at the Margaret Todd Senior Center and welcome new recruits.
Banjo Dave You’ll find this member of the 5-string Banjo Hall of Fame playing between 4th and 5th streets on Grant Avenue.
Ken Kelzer Itching for some Lawrence Welkstyle polka music? Ken’s accordion will have you tapping your toes in front of Grazie restaurant at Sherman & Grant.
Al Thomas In front of Copperfield’s Books, you’ll fine Al playing old-time Americana and patriotic songs on the piano.
Petaluma Pete No, he didn’t get lost! This spirited piano man came down to play some rousing ragtime at the end of the parade route at 7th & Grant.
Twizzle the Clown This is Twizzle’s 13th year cruising up and down Grant Avenue prior to the parade, bringing joy to all the little ones.
Jeremy Shafer Talk about a multitasker! Jeremy rides a unicycle and juggles at the same time. He’s a sight to behold.
Lisa Klein If the youngsters would like their face painted, look for Lisa – a whiz with her red, white and blue hues.
Tom Ryan’s biplane Turn your eyes skyward to find Novato’s favorite biplane pilot in a Canadian-built Murphy Renegade. The two owners of the plane, Richard Gaines and Neil Cormia, play in the People of Note band. Make sure to thank them for sharing their flying relic with us.