Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

1978 Frontier Days Parade

Canyon Country, California

Saturday, September 30, 1978 — 16th annual Canyon Country Frontier Days Parade. Photos by David Negrete (1942-2020), whose daughter Lorri was a sophomore on the Canyon High School Flag Team.

The 1978 Frontier Days Parade doubled as the first sanctioned (SCSBOA) high school marching band competition in the Santa Clarita Valley. Future competitions would be held on the COC football field.

Bands and color guards (two words back then) — i.e., flag and drill teams — assembled at Soledad Canyon Road and Ruether Avenue, then proceeded east to the reviewing (judging) stand that was set up on the south side of Soledad Canyon Road opposite the Honby Avenue intersection. From there they continued east and fed into the rest of the parade, which started at Langside Avenue, crossed the bridge over the Santa Clara River and ended at Luther Drive.

Among the high school bands, the big winner was Rio Mesa of Oxnard, followed by Hart and then the still-new Saugus High School. (There were only three comprehensive high schools in the SCV at the time: Hart, Canyon and Saugus.) Among drill teams, Camarillo High School was the winner, followed by Canyon and then Rio Mesa. Sierra Vista took the top prize among junior high school bands, followed by Placerita in second place and Arroyo Seco in third.

The parade was organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Jaycees, later known as JCI. The entire three-day festivities, from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, came under the umbrella of the Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce. There was no rodeo this year, as there frequently had been; the main attraction was the fairgrounds with carnival rides, concerts (headliner: Carl Cribbs & His Canyon Country Boys), squaredancing, Western dancing, and competitive games such as sack races, pie eating and greased pole climbing contests.

The fairgrounds were located on empty land behind (south of) the Allstate Savings and Loan building at 19100 Soledad Canyon Road, corner Hidaway Avenue. The area would be built up between 1980 and 1986.

The Frontier Belle in 1978 was 18-year-old Becky Kennedy, a nursing student at Mount St. Mary's College. A 1977 Canyon grad, she was an honors student, was active in swimming and cross country, and served on the Student Senate.

The 1978 Frontier Days Grand Marshal was a local hero, 24-year-old Keith Ward Forrand of Saugus. In November 1977, Forrand had witnessed an armed robbery at the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant on Lyons Avenue in Newhall. He ran down the two teenage gunmen and was shot in the face for his trouble. The bullet lodged in the base of his brain, and he was just now, in September 1978, learning to walk and talk again.

Click to enlarge.

About the contributor: Lorraine "Lorri" Delia has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1968. Growing up in Canyon Country, she attended Soledad Canyon School (which became the Edwards Cinema shopping center), Sierra Vista Junior High School and Canyon High School, where she was on the flag team and graduated in 1981. Her father, David G. Negrete (1942-2020), worked as a machinist at Lockheed in Burbank and Palmdale; her mother, Sally (Neill) Negrete, was customer operations manager at the Pacific Telephone Company's former Newhall office at 27075 Peachland Avenue. Lorri is married to Christopher Delia (shown), Saugus High School Class of 1981.

HB7801: Download archival images here. Photos courtesy of Lorri Negrete Delia. Online only.
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