TV Celeb Ken Kramer In July 4 Parade


    CORONADO — Ken Kramer, the popular KPBS television host of “About San Diego,” will again ride in the Coronado July Fourth Parade. “It’s always a great honor and good company,” said Kramer of his invitation to attend.

    The celebrity TV host, who is a household name throughout greater San Diego County, will be riding as the guest of the Coronado Brewing Company. He will ride in the Brewing Company’s iconic, 1924 Ford Model T truck, “Olive Oyl.”


    Kramer’s television show documents San Diego history, its people and stories. The show has become one of the regions most entertaining and educational historical assets. The seasoned journalist with the folksy TV manner has made it his life’s mission to explore the secrets and forgotten history of San Diego.

    Greg Cox, Chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors honored Kramer not long ago. He likened the lasting effect and historical value of Kramer’s TV shows to that of multiple museums combined. Kramer has often said that he believes Coronado has more history per square foot than any other place in San Diego County.

    The Coronado Brewing Company’s iconic beer truck, “Olive Oyl” will again be a part of the

    July Fourth Parade. This is the truck’s seventh parade since coming to Coronado in 2008.

    Photo courtesy Coronado Brewing Company.

    “About San Diego” airs on KPBS at 8:30 p.m. Thursday nights. It repeats Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and at other times throughout the week on the popular Public Broadcasting Station. The half-hour show frequently covers historical vignettes about Coronado dealing with the Hotel del Coronado, Tent City, JD Spreckels, the Wizard of Oz, the ferryboats and various personalities on the island. Kramer was spotted last week at the grand opening of the Village Theatre in Coronado.

    Past parade celebrities have included the cast from “Father Knows Best,” Orville Redenbacher the popcorn baron, Clint Walker of the TV western “Cheyenne” (Mayor Robin Goodenough rode his horse), and Kirby Grant of another popular ‘50s TV show, “Sky King.”

    Governor Ronald Reagan rode in the parade one year. And a special parade was created in 1970 for President Nixon and President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico. Ken Kramer rode in the CBC Model T last year as well.

    The late Orville Redenbacher was a popular participant in the Coronado July Fourth Parade

    for many years. He resided in the Coronado Shores until his death a few years ago.

    Photo courtesy Joe Ditler and Part-Time PR.


    This year marks the 63rd Annual Coronado Independence Day Celebration, according to parade chairman David Szymanski. The theme of this year’s parade is “An American Pageant.”

    A mailer went out last week from the Coronado 4th of July Committee to all Coronado residents asking for donations to help with costs to put on the event.

    “Expenses for last year were $55,000, which we barely met,” said Laura Szymanski, finance chairperson for the committee. “This year we again turn to our Coronado friends, neighbors, businesses, organizations, out-of-town friends and the City of Coronado to help us raise necessary funding. We couldn’t do it without you.”

    Popular donation categories include “Supporter” ($100), “Sponsor” ($150) and “Patron” ($250), although any donation will be gratefully accepted.

    The first July Fourth parade took place in 1888 in conjunction with the opening of Coronado’s horse racetrack on the beach It was estimated that 11,000 people came to Coronado to see the parade – arriving by ferryboat and train.

    The Belt Line had just opened providing rail service around the Silver Strand, and there was only one ferryboat in operation that day, the paddlewheel-driven SS Coronado (1886-1922).

    This year’s parade will fall on Monday, July 4th. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and last about two hours, according to Dave Szymanski.

    The All-Class Reunion will take place again this year, on the regular date of July 3rd, at the Coronado Golf Course. Last year musical groups from Coronado’s past reassembled there for memorable encore performances. Bands included the original Centaurs, the London Beats, the West Coast Ironworks and Joey Harris and the Mentals.

    Donations to support the July Fourth festivities are being accepted throughout the year and can be mailed to Coronado 4th of July Committee, P.O. Box 180541, Coronado, CA 92178-0541. For more information contact them at

    Television personality, award-winning journailst and historian Ken Kramer will ride again this year in the July Fourth Parade as co-pilot in the Coronado Brewing Company’s 1924 Model T truck, “Olive Oyl”.

    Photo by Langdon Smith, Coronado Rotary.

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    Joe Ditler is a professional writer, publicist and Coronado historian. Formerly a writer with the Los Angeles Times, he has been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and Europe. He also owns Part-Time PR (a subsidiary of Schooner or Later Promotions), specializing in helping Coronado businesses reach larger audiences with well-placed public relations throughout the greater San Diego County. He writes obituaries and living-obituaries under the cover "Coronado Storyteller." To find out more, write or call, or (619) 435-0767.