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Lompoc Flower Festival draws an LA crowd for parade

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The City of Lompoc held the 56th Annual Flower Festival parade this Saturday, June 28 from 10 A.M. to noon on H and Ocean streets. Of course the parade, which led to the festival gates, featured many of the usual suspects one would expect for a local parade, including the Air Force color guard, the 2014 Flower Festival Queen, her court, the Mayor of Lompoc, Lions Club, fire trucks, marching bands, drums corps & drill teams, and even a 3 star general from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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Many local clubs, businesses, and dance studios kicked up their heels. Not to be left out, Queen Veronica Patel. Eva Malolepszy, the 2013 queen, couldn’t get enough smiling and waving from last year, and had her own entry. The most enjoyable band was actually the smallest, Los Puros Compas from Santa Maria, a town just 20 minutes north of Lompoc.

Unexpectedly, the parade included marching bands from the greater Los Angeles area. The Orange County Lutheran Youth Band, a youth band from Long Beach, as well as the home high school band from Cabrillo and Lompoc High Schools. Lompoc High School enjoyed themselves playing the hit “Happy.”

But the real surprises were the LA area drill team and drum corps. The Compton Sounders entertained with flair. The Black Diamonds from Inglewood literally got the kids dancing in the street.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time many of these groups return to perform in the annual Flower Festival Parade. It’s a relief from the hustle of LA to come enjoy the day at the carnival after the parade. There are many bands on the stage, playing a wide variety of styles and eras.

Many people in Los Angeles haven’t the foggiest notion where Lompoc is or even how to pronounce it. The city is located near Vandenberg Air Force Base. The easiest way to get to Lompoc for the Flower Festival is to drive on Highway 101, get off in Buellton for Pea Soup Andersons, and then continue your journey on Highway 246 through vineyards and farms until you reach Lompoc.

The Flower Festival runs for 5 days annually during the last weekend of June. Each night features bands which play mostly cover tunes, with a few original artists. Overall, the real focus comes from joining with friends and family to watch a fun local event.

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