106 years of the Fourth

Residents gear up for the annual Independence Day festivities, including celebrity appearances, fireworks and musical performances.

June 30, 2010|By Britney Barnes,
  • The 105th annual Fourth of July Parade brought the community together for a fun and festive holiday celebration.
The 105th annual Fourth of July Parade brought the community… (Melissa Lee, HB…)

Bob Mandic has always had a front-row seat to the annual Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade.

Growing up on Main Street, Mandic's family would stay home for the holiday to watch the parade from his front yard. When he got into his teens, Mandic said, he would sell soda pop for a couple of nickels to the parade watchers.

He also watched the parade for several years from the inside out. As a city councilman and a mayor in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Mandic was part of the parade. He even almost got thrown out of the parade when he was mayor in 1982 for throwing candy to the kids as his car rolled down the parade route.

"I went around the corner and did it anyways," he said.

The parade brings back a lot of memories for the longtime resident, and this year, he will get to make a new one — as the Community Grand Marshal for the 106th annual Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade.


Mandic, his wife and his daughter will ride in the parade behind the Pacifica District Honor Color Guard and represent the city.

"It's a big honor," Mandic said. "I appreciate it very much."

The parade gives Mandic a sense of nostalgia and helps Huntington maintain its small-town feel by bringing the community together.

Mandic was chosen for his long history with Surf City and his community service work with the American Legion, Miss Huntington Beach Scholarship Pageant, Huntington Beach High School music program and Children's Needs Task Force.

Mandic served on the City Council and as mayor in 1982 and 1986 because he "didn't like the way the city was developing." During his time in office, Mandic said he is most proud of his work advocating lower densities.

He was also involved in establishing the Huntington Beach Central Park Equestrian Center, renovating Newland House Museum and rebuilding the pier.

"A lot of people don't know everything he does in the community," said Fourth of July Executive Board member Karen Pedersen. "He is quiet about it."

Mandic is the grand marshal this year, along with celebrity Grand Marshall Roger Williams, the pianist behind "Autumn Leaves," "Born Free" and "Impossible Dream."

"He's quite a character, very colorful and he's going to be a lot of fun," Fourth of July Executive Board Director Pat Stier said about Williams at the group's final meeting Wednesday.

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