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Day shakes, doesn't stir

July 08, 2004

Dave Brooks and Andrew Edwards

Some people feel it's their patriotic duty to vote every election.

Others fly the flag or tie yellow ribbons around trees.

Martha Neiderman dances -- wildly. Neiderman had a different move

for every musical float that passed at Huntington Beach's 100th

Fourth of July Parade and Celebration.

Neiderman did the shake to a rock band sponsored by the city's

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interfaith council, the do-si-do with the Square Dancers of America

and still had enough strength to keep stomping her feet when the

Huntington Beach High School Band brought up the rear of the 2

1/2-hour parade.

"It's my patriotic duty to shake my booty," she said. "The only

song I stop for is 'God Bless America.'"

Neiderman was one of thousands to descend upon Huntington for this

year's centennial Fourth of July celebration.

Despite concerns of riots and violence, this year's event went

smoothly, and police described most of this year's participants as

well-behaved.

For residents living along the parade route, the holiday began as

early as Thursday evening, with hundreds of people waiting until the

stroke of midnight to stake out a seat on the grass. Brothers Patrick

and Jerry Hutchinson, 9 and 5, brought a TV into their front yard to

help kill time before marking out a place in front of their home with

chalk and blue tape. Others sipped coffee and cocktails with friends

or snacked on marshmallows and popcorn, anything to stay awake to

meet the midnight start time set by city officials.

As the morning fog began to burn off Sunday, nearly every inch of

public space had been claimed for viewing. Residents living along the

street began to set up their lawn chairs and prepare snacks and food

for their parties, while parade participates took over the south end

of Downtown and worked feverishly to put the finishing touches on

their floats and costumes.

"I've been here since 5:45 a.m.," marcher and consultant Dale

Pinoche said. "There's only two things that would ever get me up this

early: free publicity or free food. In this case, I get a little of

both."

The parade kicked off a few minutes after 10 a.m. with a small

police motorcade and the deafening siren blasts of several fire

engines. Anyone still feeling sleepy was shaken awake by the rumble

of two F-16 jets from the California National Guard and the excited

cheers that followed.

Despite the crowded conditions, the Downtown celebration was

markedly friendly and calm, even in the capacity-filled bars and

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