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By Christina Campodonico | Photos by Zsuzi Steiner

Westchester and Playa del Rey pulled out all the stops for local 2020 graduates on the Fourth of July.

A caravan of cars, a fire truck, police vehicles and a specially designed float accompanied graduates as they drove or were chauffeured through the residential streets of the two Westside neighborhoods, starting at 11:30 a.m. at St. Bernard’s in Playa del Rey this past Saturday.

Westchester Lutheran parent, local artist and inventor Dan Garr drove a 14-foot-tall float that he designed in the shape of a graduation cap for nearly two and a half hours, trying not to “tickle the trees” in the process, he says, but it was all worth it — not only for the joy it brought to the 2020 graduates, but also the local community.

“Every block was a brand new expression of happy kids and bubbles flying around,” says Garr, who said the spectators he saw wore masks and were socially distanced.

“Families were coming out in their pajamas in the middle of brunch. They were waving flags.

“There’s a lot of elderly people in our neighborhood, who haven’t walked out their front door in four months,” he adds. “There were tears coming out of their eyes. It broke me down.”

Sheriff Drumman, who plays drums out of the back of his red pickup truck, added a vibrant beat to the procession.

“We rocked Westchester,” says Garr, who adds, “We beat COVID for one day.”