Riverside 39th Annual Black History Parade
By Dianne Anderson
A big chicken with dancers riding a Cadillac with a boat on top should be a big float draw this year at the Riverside Black History parade, along several the other great headliners, including Dangerman, Hip Hop entertainer Tommy the Clown.
It’s all tastefully done in fun.
“Juan Pollo has a five-piece group of dancers, a pollo chicken, a boom box and a car boat. It’s like a boat Cadillac. I’ve never seen anything like it.” said Russel Ward, co-chair of the parade.
It’s the second time that Juan Pollo of San Bernardino has been featured. He said the first was a show stopper.
Under the theme, “It Takes a Village — Celebrating Community Leadership,” the day promises lots of laughs and activities for the family, along with some time to appreciate local heroes.
Hosted by Adrian Dell & Carmen Roberts Foundation, the event honors Dr. Judy White, Superintendent of Riverside County Schools as the grand marshal. This year, division marshals are Riverside Community College Chancellor Dr. Wolde-Ab Isaac, along with radio personality and producer of the Southern California Black Business Expo directory Jerry Green.
Ward, who has assisted with parade planning for over 30 years, said the goal is to spotlight community leaders and recognize local heroes, the military, and scholastic civic leaders for all they’ve given to the community.
About seven years ago, he said the parade founder, Dell Roberts, tried to put the parade on a short pause because they thought the community had lost some interest. The parade costs a lot and funding is always a challenge.
“We got all kinds of phone calls, and threats after that. He put it back on the map to get the funding we needed,” Ward said.
Getting all of the ducks in the row to make the parade go off without a hitch, the security and clean up, all the permitting, takes a year’s worth of work. And, he expects they will likely be working until the last minute.
Ward, parade co-chair along with John Jefferson, said they are always making headway every year to bring the best in culture and entertainment to the community.
On Saturday, February 10, the parade starts at 10:00 a.m. from Riverside Community College at Terracina and Magnolia, down Market Street, finishing up in front of the historic Court House.
Vendors and entries will be accepted until the January 30 deadline.
This year, a few of the current confirmed entries include Power of Faith Christian Worship Center, Move and Groove for Health Dance Team from Moreno Valley, the 20-bike strong Cross Riders Motorcycle Ministry. Judge Richard T. Fields will participate, and the Riverside chapter of the Eastern Stars will bring auto mini-cars, which is always a hit with adults and the kids.
Among other attractions, the Ultimate Riders Car Club will showcase their low riders and classic cars. Frisbee Falcons Marching Band out of Rialto, and the Westcoast Westside Riders Community marching band out of Moreno Valley, along with step and dance teams.
This is the first time Ward is swinging most of the affair on his own. He said it requires a lot of energy for the enormous amount of work that Dell Roberts seems to get done with just one call.
He said that Mr. Roberts keeps the parade marching on.
“He’s the only reason it’s still going. He’s the one that founded it 39 years ago, I came on board the following year. He’s the driving force,” Ward said.
This is his first year handling everything. He said it looks a lot easier from the sidelines.
“It’s the first year he’s taken a step back and it’s my first year to see how much energy he has. He’s one person, but it takes about five to scratch the surface of what needs to be done.”
For more information visit www.adcrfoundation.org.