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Spectators clap for the Blood Drive's appearance in the parade. (Click photos for larger images)

We didn’t see any forbidden water battles on the parade route, but we did see lots of people having a good time throughout Rancho Murieta’s July 4 celebration. From the Fun Run in the early morning to the fireworks 14 hours later (was that the best finale ever?), it was a July 4 many will remember fondly. We have the whole day covered – and nearly 300 photos too.

Blankets marking parade and fireworks viewing spots sprouted Monday morning, probably the earliest appearance ever, many hours before the Rancho Murieta Association’s declared 7 p.m. land rush for prime real estate.

The Fourth was a warm, 90-something day, but a breeze kept things comfortable through much of the morning and again in the evening.

Fun Run

Pooches were among the Fun Run participants. (Click photos for larger images)

37th annual Fun Run

→ Fun Run photo gallery (19 photos)

The 37th annual 5K Fun Run attracted about 165 runners and walkers (and a few dogs).

Parker Faeth took fastest honors in the male division with a time of 16:48 and 11-year-old Allison Myers led the women with a time of 22:30. Both have competed in the run before, but this was the first win for each. The children’s races followed, with separate sprints for ages 6 and under and ages 7 and older. 

Fun Run founder John McNamee acted as starter and timekeeper for the races, while sponsor Erin Howard of the Murieta Health Club provided participants with the official race T-shirt, plenty of water, and prizes for the children.

Hat contest

Sister-brother team of Brooke Whichard, 10, and Luke Whichard, 9, had two of the tallest hats. Luke's took top honors. (Click photos for larger images)

Kiwanis Breakfast and Best Hat Contest

→ Breakfast photo gallery (18 photos)
→ Best Hat Contest (21 photos)

Note for next year: It’s easy to enjoy the Kiwanis Club’s breakfast without having to wait in line. You just need to get there by about 7:45. After that, the line grows quickly. The line wasn’t a deterrent Tuesday; a lot of pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage were consumed.

The Kiwanis’ Best Hat Contest came of age as an event with some serious competition that included a military tank that shot candy out its turret. Jack and Laura Holliday were judged Best Team; Candy Hearn’s outsized hair-roller creation swept the Silly Hat category; Best Hat for Age 8 and under went to 5-year-old Catherine McMaster, and Tyler Craig won Most Patriotic. 

The judges awarded the grand prize to 9-year-old Luke Whichard for a towering hat honoring the armed forces. His name will be inscribed on the contest trophy that will go on display at Murieta Market by Raley’s in the Plaza.


Veterans were honored at the head of the parade. Longtime Murietan Ted Hart, a Navy vet, is at the wheel here, dressed in Navy gear. (Click photos for larger images)

Parade on Murieta Parkway

→ The decorated carts (67 photos)
→ Step-by-step look at the parade (113 photos)

The parade’s decorated carts showed quite a range of creativity, including a huge, show-stopping Alice in Wonderland cart and trailer with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. A number of carts had tropical themes and some had Murieta themes, including one with the Spirit of Murieta airplane and another with a Summer in Rancho Murieta cart with a working grill. (They cooked hotdogs and gave them to the crowd!)

The parade also spotlighted hometown heroes, Murieta veterans who served the nation.

Spectators lined the median to watch the parade and catch candy this year, giving the impression of more spectators overall. No one attempts a crowd count, so we’ll never know.

The RMA’s efforts to rein in a couple of areas resulted in a truce in water-gun hostilities and a reduction in the number of classic cars. This year’s parade had 17. 

Here are the winners, as provided by the RMA:

Golf Cart Division


  • Blaisdell family
  • Ryan Manriquez
  • Payne family 
  • McBeath, Lillich, and Adams families 
  • Smith family
  • O’Conner family
  • Hock and Stringer families
  • Penman family
  • Killian family
  • Dubey family           

Honorable Mention

  • Rose family
  • Spurlock family
  • Pohll family
  • Barnes family
  • Madrigal and Aquino family
  • Lindsay family
  • Viera family
  • Bagley family
  • Wise family
  • Cornwell family      

Girls Division


  • Lyla Garcia
  • Chloe Garcia
  • Julia Garcia
  • Brooke Whichard

Boys Division


  • Jackson Haviland
  • Colton Ostoich
  • Gio Parra
  • Dain Kelly
  • Luke Whichard

Honorable Mention

  • Ryan Cowell
  • Oliver Stowell
  • Dylan Herrick  


A head-first dunking was a nice way to address the summer heat. (Click photos for larger images)

Carnival at Lake Clementia

→ Carnival photo gallery (27 photos)

The carnival at Lake Clementia takes place as the day usually starts to warm up, and this July 4 was no exception. Still, kids got to keep cool with the slip and slide and enjoyed a free lunch compliments of the Optimists. Booths offered snow cones and root beer floats for purchase. Tents sheltered craft tables with beads and patriotic stick-on decals, as well as an assortment of test-your-skill games that included putting, a natural for young Murietans. The bounce house vibrated with high-energy little ones. 

Slightly removed from the madding crowd, families gathered on the grass and under trees around Lake Clementia to spread out picnics and relax.


Here's the view of the fireworks at Laguna Joaquin just off Carreta Lane. (Click photos for larger images)

Evening activities

→ Gazebo dancing gallery (27 photos)

Music at the Gazebo, part of the evening activities sponsored by the Rancho Murieta Association, found its dancing feet slowly. It started with a Macarena request (what, no hokey pokey?) and took a couple of turns at Uptown Funk.

The fireworks offered a spectacular finale and then, as everyone was talking about how great the show had been and plotting how to beat the traffic, a surprise ruffle of a few more explosions lit the sky.

Was it planned? An accident? No matter. It was a new wrinkle in a day that’s reliably the best time to be had in Rancho Murieta.

Mike Simas's picture
Joined: 03/21/2008
Posts: 50
Post rating: 49

Another Great 4th of July

Another Great 4th of July event !! 

However.... M80's and other illegal  explosices were fired in my area (south) until midnight. Very disruptive. I am suggesting the RMA put a curfew on this  activity.

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Post rating: 1387

Vets in July 4 parade

The RMA provides the names of the veterans who took part in the July 4 parade:

Ted Hart
Al Swan
Sid Anderson
John Keema
Ron Squires
Bruno Pelc
Bill DuVal
Wally Whaley

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Post rating: 1387

Veteran participating in July 4 parade

We received this email today about one of the veterans participating in the July parade:

The passenger in the back seat of the 1941 Packard driven by Ted Hart is Karl Winkelbrandt, Col. USMC (Ret).

Matt Corsaut's picture
Joined: 08/17/2007
Posts: 59
Post rating: 42

4th of July Parade

There is no place better to be than Rancho Murieta on the 4th of July.  Thank you to all the volunteers who helped with all the different festivities throughout the day.


On a side note, I was sad to see the very few cars in the parade.  By my count there were less than 20.  It made for the shortest parade (about 20 minutes) that I have seen in my last 30 years in Rancho.  Myself and the people around me had the same opinion that we missed the Corvette club, the Challenger/Charger club and the other neat cars that used to be in the parade.  I would humbly suggest the following protocols for upcoming years in order to find the happy medium between those who thought there were to many, and those that thought there were to few.  First, put a cap of 40 cars on the parade.  The first group would be residents with 1969 and older cars.  If there are less than 40 signed up,  the second group would be residents with “car club” and other interesting cars….Corvettes, Ferraris, Panteras, Chargers, Lambos, etc…..   If still less than 40, resident’s friends with pre 1970 cars, and lastly, to fill in the 40 car max, resident’s friends with “car club” type cars.  Adding 20 cars may sound like a lot, but it would add on less than 10 minutes to the parade.  Just my two cents for what it's worth. 

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