The Cambrian

Swing band to perform at Cambria's July 4 celebration

Cambria’s Fourth of July 2015 celebration will include nearly all the Shamel Park traditions that have made the event so special and family friendly for decades … despite one substitution made necessary by severe drought conditions, water restrictions and fire risk. 

This year, instead of day-ending fireworks that could spark a wildfire, American Legion Post No. 432 will round out the holiday festivities with a rousing performance by the Royal Garden Swing Orchestra. The noted swing/pops group will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Admission is free, as it is to all the day’s festivities. A dance floor will be available for all who love to kick up their heels.

The Royal Garden group of brass, saxophones and rhythm section is celebrating its 27th year performing the swinging sounds of the big-band and era and modern classics. 

The top-level dance band is led by bandleader/director Warren Balfour, professor emeritus in the Cuesta College Music Department, and former director of jazz studies there. The 17-piece group of professional musicians from San Luis Obispo County has entertained large crowds at Hearst Castle, the Clark Center for the Performing Arts and other premier venues. The post used a Cambria Tourism Board grant to hire the orchestra.

Familiar family fun

What won’t change at Cambria’s “Picnic in the Park” Independence Day event is the all-day fun, food, games, live music, competition and prizes.

The fun starts at 11 a.m. at the park (located at the bend in Park Hill’s Windsor Boulevard, about a block from the Highway 1 stoplight). Other entertainment will include the bands Stellar, Rough House and Soundview. 

There’ll be morning races for kids, a Lions Club bounce house, the hilarious Great Waiter/Waitress Relay Race and Linn’s pie-eating contests (sign up in advance for the latter at Linn’s Restaurant, 2277 Main St.).

The opening ceremonies will include a traditional honor guard and Melanie Gruber singing the national anthem. The park swimming pool will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Cambria Trolley will provide free transportation from 10 a.m. to 6 on a route that runs along Main Street and Moonstone Beach Drive, stopping at Shamel Park.


Businesses and individuals are continuing another Independence Day-spirit tradition: Raising funds to help pay for the costly event.

“Public donations are critical to having this Picnic in the Park with first-class entertainment, said Terry Farrell, past post commander. Direct contributions by Cambria businesses and ticket sales for prize drawings provide the remainder of the funding. Any contributions that exceed costs are applied to the dozens of local community projects the post supports.

Collection cans are at all five Cookie Crock Market counters, at the Cambria Chamber of Commerce, Cambria Coffee Roasting Company, Cambria General Store, Cambria Hardware & Lumber, the Legion post’s Club 432, Corky’s Barber Shop, Gym One, Heritage Oaks Bank, Old Cambria Marketplace, Rabobank, Soto’s and Mojo’s Village Bean

Contributions to the nonprofit post are tax deductible (to the extent allowed by law). Mail checks to the Legion at P.O. Box 697, Cambria CA 93428, with “July 4 picnic” noted in the memo space. Details: Dave Ehlers at 927-1876.