Our company is based in the very small town of Ojai, California. Although it is tiny, it garners big attention from travel blogs for its famous pink light, numerous spas, psychics and celebrity sightings.
Here, people are not impressed by letters after a name, size of a house or amount of land or fame. In Ojai-town, people care about your goat, a lost dog, a child's lemonade stand or a powerful poem by a fire survivor.
Ojai made its mark on the world years ago when the philosopher Krishnamurti opened schools and established a loyal following of freethinkers. Aldous Huxley and Beatrice Woods worked here, as well as countless tv writers, producers and musicians.
Our citizens do not focus on this interesting past, but instead gather to have lavender festivals where you can stand in a long line for a free hug. We also sit for full moon meditations, peace rallies every Friday and venture to the farmer's market to try a neighbor's new granola recipe. The stores in the arcade are family owned and some have flourished for over 100 years.
The 4th of July is a very special time in Ojai. Our tradition is a charming one and starts in mid-June. Chairs start to appear along the main roadway. Wooden chairs, elaborate camping chairs, sofas, and stools are set out and left alone for weeks before the big day and the parade. No one steals them. No one bothers them and this is the way it is-- and has been, forever.
The first time we attended, we worried why so few people were there to watch. The sidewalks were lined with a few observers; but it was a very low turn out we thought! Then, we realized why. Almost everyone in town was IN THE PARADE.
This year, we will be honored to have Trevor Quirk as Grand Marshal. A local attorney and business owner, he and his wife Aletheia worked endlessly after the Thomas Fire to help neighbors after the unthinkable devastation.
You see, our town was almost destroyed. Many lives were changed forever and over 1000 families lost their homes in our county. Trevor, his family, friends and many volunteers worked endless hours over the weeks and months to put out the fire, clean up the mess, feed and house people and re-build lives.
So proud to have Trevor Quirk as Grand Marshal of our parade and so proud of our town, Ojai.
Photo of chairs on Ojai avenue by Trevor Quirk, Grand Marshal of the
2018 July 4 Parade.