THE NORTH AVENUE GROUP
(40 Years of Fun)
In 1976, three teenagers who lived on North Avenue wondered what it would be like to be in the Fourth of July parade rather than just view it, so since it was an election year, they entered their own candidate in the race: A nearly impeached Richard Nixon. The highlight of that first year was when a youth on Moffet rolled a smoke bomb over by “Tricky Dicky,” and his Secret Service Agents dove on top of him. From that point on the group was hooked.
After recruiting friends, the group’s direction started out as a “Monty Python” type group doing satires on groups in the parade themselves. There was the musically dysfunctional “Fruit of the Loom Super Waste Marching Band, the stick horse equestrian “Lake Bluff Polo Club,” and who could forget the outlaw Harley Biker Shriners.
Slowly the group decided to tackle current events and political satire. They became friendly rivals with the Lawn Mower Brigade. During the Reagan era they rented Star Wars costumes and were the “Star Wars Defense System.” That was one of the hottest summer days; “Chewbacca, the Wookie,” almost died on us.
The “Zsa Zsa Gabor meets the LAPD” skit actually caught the attention of a writer for the “Los Angeles Times” who lived in Lake Bluff. His article about the skit ended up being published the next day on the front page of the “LA Times.”
The rash of poor mail service and mail boxes was documented in a skit called “Snail Service” with mail falling out of a mail truck and featured a replica mail box on wheels with smoke spewing out.
The group said their good byes in 2006 with a tribute to the space program as “Astronauts on a Mission to Explore Uranus,” but much like Muhammad Ali they keep coming out of retirement. Most recently, they honored the departure of one of their biggest fans, Al Gravenhorst, by reviving “Chief Illini Dance On”
Who knows when the North Avenue Group will show up again???