By MIKE MORRIS
A miniature fire engine and a gigantic California state flag are among the entries in this year's Murphys Homecoming Parade, beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Twenty-five groups and organizations will march for about a mile down historic Main Street before an estimated crowd of 3,000. The parade route will start at Algiers and Main streets and conclude at Church Street.
"The purpose of the event is for members of the community to come together to celebrate and have a good time," Bob Reagan, parade co-chairman, said.
Cub Scouts from Pack 343 will lead the procession, carrying flags and banners. Other participating organizations include Murphys Dolphins Swim Team, Lah de Dahs of the Red Hat Society and the Murphys Library. The Native Sons of the Golden West will carry a state flag the width of the street.
Equestrian entries include the Magnificent Minis of the Mother Lode, Calaveras Saddle Club, Calaveras Tuolumne Cattlewomen and the Gold Dust Pair. Dog Gone Good Drill Team, composed of various dog breeds performing a Western-themed show, also will be on hand.
A 1940 Dodge commercial vehicle, restored by three community members, will cruise down Main Street, as will fire engines and a 1937 Cadillac Fleetwood Cabriolet.
Michael Chimente, superintendent of the Vallecito Union School District since 1997, will be the parade's grand marshal. Chimente's district includes Albert Michelson Elementary and the Home Academy in Murphys, Hazel Fisher Elementary and Vallecito Community Day School in Arnold, and Avery Middle School in Avery.
"I appreciate the small-town atmosphere and old-fashioned values of Calaveras County," Chimente said.
The parade is a highlight of the 55th annual Murphys Homecoming, staged all day Sunday by Murphys Community Club members, who are responsible for the care and maintenance of Murphys Community Park.