"Andretti Parade- July 12, 1969"
Fifty years ago today, Nazareth held a parade to honor Mario Andretti, after he won the Indy 500 earlier. Mom's friend invited us to her second floor apartment at 172 S Main St. for that parade and since it was going to be pretty full of people on the street level, Mom accepted her offer to view the parade from higher up.
Dad filmed some of the parade from the sidewalks below us that day.
Here's a few still pictures that I copied from Dad's old movies of Mario's parade, showing Mario's Dirt Champ car, Frankie Schneider's modified stock car and Andy Granatelli and his wife, riding in the 1969 Indy 500 pace car, driven in the parade by Nazareth hobby shop (Trainland) owner, Bob Danner. The fourth picture here shows Mom and me watching the parade from her friend's apartment window.
I was just looking across the street at that window yesterday, when I was getting an oil change at Main Street Service. I mentioned to Chris, the owner, as I pointed to that apartment window, that I can't believe it was 50 years ago already when that parade happened. I told him the story about how we watched the parade from right across the street from the service station. Chris surprised me when he said he watched the parade also from that intersection, but in front of the next building down the street. Funny, but we both lived near each other several blocks farther up town, but we somehow both ended up there, not near our houses, to watch that parade.
Shortly after Chris finished up working on my car, former racer, Billy Tanzosh, drove up to the service station and we talked for a little while. That was a neat coincidence because we were just talking about Mario and Billy played a big part in Mario's early racing career.
Later that night, after the parade in 1969, Dad took me to Nazareth National Speedway, where Mario won the USAC Dirt Champ Car race. That was only the third race that I attended at that point and man was that neat when Mario won that race. What a thrill.
What a neat time it was to be a kid growing up in our little old small town of Nazareth.