Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kemper Named Parade Grand Marshal

Independence day committee names noted Ojai fundraiser as grand marshal

By Linda Harmon
It’s that time of the year again to plan your Fourth of July, at least if you’re on the Ojai Independence Day Committee. The committee began the process by selecting Joan Kemper as this year’s grand marshal.
“We received nominations and voted last week to nominate Joan,” said Nancy Hill, chairman. “She’s done so much for the arts community. We received many letters talking about her positive energy saying she is so dedicated she has kept others dedicated.”
Hill cited nomination letters spotlighting Kemper’s work in many organizations around the valley, especially involving fund-raising activities for Help of Ojai, Ojai Festivals, OPAT and the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation. Hill also mentioned a partial list of projects credited to Kemper’s involvement in the nominations, including the Libbey Park footbridge, Cluff Vista Park and the restoration of the Libbey Park pergola.
“Can you believe it?” said Kemper, when discussing the announcement and protesting her right to the title. “It’s such a great honor. There are many more out there who deserve it more, but I’m very flattered and it will be great fun. I look forward to it.”
Asked about her upcoming projects she mentioned getting the Ojai Performing Arts Center built, adding with a chuckle, “… if I live long enough.” Kemper said she is closing in on the final funding and hopes to announce a start date later this year.
Kemper’s duties besides reigning over the parade from the Ojai Avenue grandstand will include her introduction at the free July 3 concert at Libbey Bowl that will have a ‘40s, big band theme, and again presiding over the July 4 fireworks display at Nordhoff High School.
“We are very honored to have her,” said Hill.

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