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Rose Parade goes country

  • Brownie scouts march down Fourth Street during the The Luther Burbank Rose Parade in Santa Rosa, Saturday May 21, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

The 117th Luther Burbank Rose Parade rolled through Santa Rosa Saturday with a decidedly country flair, cowboy boots and ten-gallon hats marking the procession in the city's most venerable community event.

Marching bands struck up classic tunes from Hollywood westerns, hay bales doubled as seats on floats, and little dudes bearing stick ponies trotted alongside riders on real steeds.

"The cowboy era is still here," said Santa Rosa resident Dave Bell, one of thousands of onlookers who lined downtown streets for the two-and-a-half hour parade.

117th Luther Burbank Rose Parade

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"Rose Town Hoedown," was the theme for this year's event, a tribute to the Old West.

It was fitting, organizers said, because like any tough wrangler, the parade has picked itself up from recent economic woes. Donations, sponsorships and entry fees this year surpassed the parade's $85,000 operational budget. About 180 entries also made the show bigger than any in the last decade, organizers said.

Onlookers said they were grateful for the rebound.

Santa Rosa resident Victoria Littlejohn, 53, who usually works on weekends, attended her first parade Saturday, bringing along friends and family.

"I knew they were struggling," she said of past years. "We just wanted to come and enjoy the parade and see what it is all about."

In addition to the western-themed entries, there were performers representing Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Native American heritage.

Transportation included antique fire engines, classic cars, a clean-fuel city bus and dozens of decorated bicycles.


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