By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
Who will put the “grand” in grand marshal for the 2012 Garden Grove Strawberry Festival? The process is half-done and should be complete shortly.
Capt. Stacey E. Gerlich of the Los Angeles Fire Department will be the theme grand marshal, assisted by local public safety figures Garden Grove Police Chief Kevin Raney, Deputy Fire Chief Dave Barlag, and eight others including police officers and members of the local Civilian Emergency Response Team.
Gerlich, a fire captain, has been involved with a wide variety of functions, including serving as a paramedic and supervising both them and Los Angeles CERT teams. She’s been deployed to many local disasters including forest fires and a train wreck, as well as going to New York City in the wake of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center on “9/11.”
“She has an amazing resume,” said Judy Cooper, publicist for the festival. “A very interesting person.”
Still awaiting resolution is the choice of a celebrity grand marshal. “We should have an announcement to make very soon,” she said.
The 2012 event will again feature the popular Saturday morning parade, as well carnival rides, booths, games and entertainment at the Village Green. Festival hours will be 1-10 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the balance of days.
Begun in 1958, the Strawberry Festival is one of the largest community events in the United States and serves as a fund-raiser for many non-profit organizations in Garden Grove.
Additionally, the Strawberry Festival Association donates its share of proceeds to various civic and community causes including equipment for the police and fire departments and grants to other groups.
For more information, go to www.strawberryfestival.org .