Penngrove's 'Biggest Little Parade' a 38-year success

  • Gena Maiden, 4, rides atop her grandfather, John, before the start of the Biggest Little Parade on Sunday, July 7, 2013 in Penngrove, California. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Sunday's Penngrove parade felt like a big piece of apple pie ala mode with an American flag toothpicked on top — sweet, comforting and patriotic.

The county's "Biggest Little Parade" wrapped up a variety of community events during the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Penngrove's old-fashioned ode to the Fourth of July is a small parade by Santa Rosa Rose Parade standards — just the one-third mile length of downtown Penngrove. It didn't have some standard parade scenes, no marching bands and it was short on politicians, but it was packed with what makes the small rural community of Penngrove.

There were kids on horseback, local residents in classic cars, military vehicles, tractors and schoolchildren. Kicking it off were several fire engines and Rancho Adobe firefighters who protect the Penngrove area.

"It's a piece of Americana. You just don't see anything like this," said Dave Willis, a Rohnert Park resident who works in Penngrove.

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