Clayton marks major milestones
with huge turnout for 4th of July

By Tamara Steiner on July 7, 2014

July 4 contest first place Blanca Lee_for websiteBlanca Lee submitted the winning photo in the Clayton Pioneer’s July 4 Photo Contest. Lee’s photo of her friend Ve’Laine Manion, was chosen from over 50 entries. Both Lee and Manion are Clayton residents. First place prize is $100.

Clayton marked some major milestones last week when thousands gathered downtown for the annual July 4 parade.

The town has always done Independence Day in a big way. But this year the city of Clayton is celebrating 50 years since incorporation.

The CBCA, Clayton Historical Society, AAUW, Skipolini’s, Ed’s Mudville Grill, Clayton Bikes and Clayton Sunrise Rotary are also marking major decade birthdays, giving added cause for celebration and making the 2014 parade one of the biggest ever.

The parade has come a long way from Clayton’s first July 4 celebration around 1966 or ‘67. It was inspired by an old muslin-cloth banner discovered in a local barn. When then-mayor Al Liming unrolled the banner, it was an announcement for a 1896 Fourth of July parade and celebration. Liming thought the city should revive the tradition and the city council agreed.

Bob Hoyer, Clayton’s first mayor, remembers that first celebration. “There were kids,” he recalls. “And a few floats, some Model Ts and someone had an old fire engine.” After the parade, people gathered in the eucalyptus grove for a greased pole contest and barbeque. Hoyer remembers the Boy Scouts were there selling corn on the cob.

Last Friday, 47 years later, Bob Hoyer climbed into the rumble seat of a vintage Model A Ford, for a ride down a Main Street lined with an estimated 10,000 spectators—all cheering and waving as Clayton’s first mayor led the 2014 parade.

Following Hoyer were some 600 participants in 46 entries ranging from 24 pristine classic Corvettes to Hillbilly Doug’s 1926 Model T Ford truck, purchased 64 years ago for $12.50. The old truck coughed and sputtered its way down Main Street, finally losing a wheel near the end. Spectators quickly rallied and pushed the truck out of the way Sadly, Hillbilly Doug says this was probably the truck’s last public appearance.

Among the many decorated bicycles was one very special entry. Stan Zukowski, 80, proudly pedaled down Main on his newly restored 1948 Columbia, 3-Star Deluxe that he bought new 66 years ago when he was a paperboy in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Through the lens

Nothing captured the spirit of the day better than Blanca Lee’s winning photo of Ve’Laine Manion, also from Clayton, in the Clayton Pioneer’s 12th annual July 4 Photo Contest. “She had such energy,” Lee said. “She just looked like a winner.”

Lee will take home a check for $100. The rest of the winners are shown on page 3.

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