Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 10:58 am | Overcast 67º


Local News

Space Age Blossoms as Lompoc Valley Flower Festival Parades Through Town

As thousands of spectators cheer, floats featuring rockets and astronauts share route with drill teams and drum squads


With space-themed floats and dances to space-themed songs, the Lompoc Valley Flower Festival launched its annual parade Saturday.

Under sunny skies, thousands of people staked out vantage points along H Street and Ocean Avenue for the parade, the centerpiece of Day Four of the five-day Flower Festival.

The 66th annual Flower Festival theme, Space: The Final Frontier, resulted in a rocket standing tall as part of a Lompoc-centric float that also featured La Purisima Mission and other community landmarks.

Key space companies — including United Launch Alliance, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies — also were included on the Lompoc Elks entry made from flowers.

SpaceX entered its own float — complete with astronauts, rocket motor and flowers, of course — for the road trip through Lompoc.

“SpaceX is proud to be a part of the Lompoc community as we work toward the future where further adventures into space stop being the stuff of dreams and become the reality,” parade chairman Juan Esquivas read from parade script.

But Lompoc’s procession included more than flower-covered floats, with several drill and drum squads and marching bands, many traveling from the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

“The parade went really well,” Esquivas said Saturday afternoon. “Everybody was pleased. The drill teams and drum squads were excited and want to return for next year.”

In addition to participating in the parade, the drill teams and drum squads also performed on stage in Ryon Memorial Park as part of the parade awards ceremony Saturday afternoon.

“They were a huge crowd-pleaser,” Esquivas said.

Last weekend, Kaitlyn Chui was crowned 2018 Flower Festival Queen during a coronation that was the culmination of months of fundraising and other factors leading to her selection.

The Flower Festival opened Wednesday and runs through Sunday at Ryon Park, at Ocean Avenue and O Street, with food booths, carnival rides, vendors and musical entertainment. Admission to the festival is $5.

The Flower Festival website initially claimed the event would include a flower show, but officials later said that had been canceled.

Click here for a schedule of Sunday’s entertainment.

The Flower Festival is organized by the nonprofit Lompoc Valley Festivals Association, which also hosts the smaller SpringFest in April.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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