Burbank on Parade

Burbank Historical Society board member Gary Sutliff takes "Big Boy" out for a ride on a tractor during the 2008 annual Burbank on Parade. This year, the event takes place April 14. (File photo)

Burbank on Parade takes place April 14, a little earlier than in years past, and for anyone wanting to march, sing, ride their horse or twirl a baton, Friday is the last day to apply.

Applications for bands, parade floats, equestrian entries and novelty acts are available on the group’s website. Burbank On Parade Chairwoman Joanne Miller said the nonprofit will soon be sorting through the applications and determining the lineup.

This year’s theme, “The World of Aviation and Its Heroes,” is being presented by Bob Hope Airport.

“It’s nice because Lockheed was located [at the airport site] and Lockheed was the start of worldwide interest in the aviation world,” Miller said. “The airport working with us is a perfect match.”

Burbank On Parade is one of the city’s many unique traditions, originally established to celebrate the end of World War II.

It started in the 1950s, but went on temporary hiatus until 1982, when a group of Burbank residents refounded it, said Miller, who has been involved with the event for 26 years and has marched since 1986.

The Burroughs High School alumna of 1972 said she marched with the Burbank Burroughs Alumni Band.

Once the applications are in, Miller and the parade organizers will determine the line up.

“Everybody wants to be at the beginning of the parade,” Miller said, chuckling. “One entry, the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., likes their float to be last in the parade.”

This year, Burbank On Parade and the Tournament of Roses Assn. are working together on a float for the start of the parade, a 25-foot by 25-foot airplane, Miller said.

“They are helping us a great deal and contributing to a huge pageantry and a custom-made opening to salute our theme,” Miller said. “We’ll open with a presentation by Bob Hope Airport and the plane.”

The plan is that the plane will be “built” by a child who used his imagination to build a plane with things he found around his backyard, such as a surfboard for wings.

This year’s grand marshals are Clay Lacy and Robert Gilliland, two aviation pioneers.

Over the past six decades, Lacy has flown more than 300 aircraft types, established 29 world speed records, performed more than 2,000 aerial photography missions and logged more than 50,000 flight hours, according to his aviation website.

Gilliland was the original test pilot for the SR-71 Blackbird, which made its first run in December 1964, Miller said.

As the program continued to grow, he logged more supersonic test time above Mach 2 and 3 than any other pilot, she said.

A Bob Hope wax figure from Madame Tussauds will be placed at George Izay Park toward the end of the parade route, said Teresa Garcia, publicity chair and parade director.

“I hope it’s as exciting as the Centennial parade,” Garcia said.

The two-hour parade begins at 11 a.m. on April 14 and will wind its way along Olive Avenue from Keystone Street to Lomita.

Olive will be closed from Buena Vista Boulevard to Victory.

For more information, call the parade hotline at (818)736-7972, visit the group on Facebook or http://www.burbankonparade.com.