The 2017 McCloud Lumberjack Fiesta schedule of events is included in this post
McCloud Community Recreation Council has chosen Norman Hitchcock to be McCloud’s 70th Lumberjack Fiesta parade grand marshal.
Born and raised in McCloud, Hitchcock will ride in the parade, scheduled for Saturday, July 29, in a Jeep owned and driven by Amber DeBon, who has become the official grand marshal chauffeur.
Hitchcock grew up on what was then called Southern Avenue, now named Squaw Valley Road. At 11 years old, he was a sheepherder with Billy Johnson. “When I was a kid, I was scared to death of Billy. We played army, and he lived on the other side.”
Right out of high school he worked at the mill. It lasted for six months. When the workers went out on strike for 10 days to gain a three cents per hour raise, he said, “How long will it take to make up for the three cents per hour while on strike? I am joining the Air Forces.” He did just that and stayed enlisted for 22 years.
Still calling his wife of 60 years, Dorothy, “my bride,” he tells the story of their first date. He was sitting on the railing of what was then a drug store at the site where the White Mountain Cafe is located today. It was a bar before that. Dorothy, at the age of 19, was walking back to work with her coworkers when he asked her out. “I took her out for breakfast at Bartle because that was all the money I had. I couldn’t afford dinner.”
Six weeks from their first date they married. And being married to a serviceman, Dorothy says, “It was a great life traveling with him all over while he was in the Air Force.”
While in the Air Force, they had three children: Cathy, Steven and Joseph. During his years in the service, Hitchcock was chosen as an alternate pallbearer for Senator Clair Engle at Beale Air Force Base. He also had the opportunity to shake hands with President John F. Kennedy.
After his time in the service, the family moved to Redding. He worked as a carrier for B of A, a furniture repair man, a cabinet maker and then on a Caltrans highway maintenance and striping crew.
In more recent years, when they moved back to McCloud, Norman said, “This town needs flags.” There were only a few houses that displayed the American flag at the time. “I got the idea from being in the Lions Club when I lived in Oregon. I started putting brackets on the power poles and putting flags up on our street. Bill Michelon helped. I bought 20 flags to start and ended up getting 80 flags.”
The idea caught on and soon the McCloud Fireman’s Association and other homeowners and organizations decided to help as well, and soon the flags were being added on power poles throughout McCloud.
“I am very proud of him,” Dorothy says of Norman being honored as the grand marshal.
He says, “There are lots more people in the town of McCloud that have done more things than I have.”
But he is looking forward to it, saying, “I am going to get out there and do a dance.”
To which Dorothy responds by hitting him and saying, “No you won’t.” Then they both chuckle.
With his signature lambchop sideburns growing across his cheeks since his days in the service, Norman at the age of 84 now enjoys a life of golf and fishing. He no longer hunts. He keeps a card table in his living room with a jigsaw puzzle on it that he likes to pass the winter months working on.
After all these years, he is still taking Dorothy out for breakfast in Bartle at least once a week.
McCloud Community Recreation Council President Patty Ballard-Faulkner says, “McCloud Community Recreation Council is more than honored to have Norman Hitchcock as this year’s Lumberjack Fiesta Days Grand Marshal. There is so much to be grateful for and one is Mr. Hitchcock. Thank you for your service Mr. Hitchcock.”
McCloud’s 70th Annual Lumberjack Fiesta Days is scheduled for July 28, 29, and 30. The Fiesta features competitions such as horseshoes, logging events, watermelon eating, and dancing. The Li'l Logger and Miss Fiesta contests kick off the weekend Friday night. There will be music, water slides, vendors, a softball tournament, food, drinks, and other fun in the sun.