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ENTERTAINMENT : Parade Free Again--Doo Dah, Doo Dah : Founder of the screwball Pasadena event hopes to recapture spirit of the past. He's joining forces with arts group in an attempt to draw more local entries, spectators and sponsors.


After last year's revamped Doo Dah Parade went bust, it's back to basics for the annual screwball event, back to the free streets of Old Pasadena, back to policing for unruly, tortilla-tossing spectators.

This year's Nov. 27 parade, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, will try to recapture the spirit of Doo Dahs past, said parade founder Peter Apanel.

"If we can make it come back and work, and turn the momentum around, with the participants and crowd control, and the tortilla situation, we have a pretty good chance of winning back all the supporters," said Apanel, who runs the parade as a full-time job.

Last year, for the first time, Apanel changed the Doo Dah format, partly with an eye toward profits. He also wanted to control the growing number of surly spectators, some of whom hurled wadded-up, stale tortillas at parade entrants.

The 1993 parade charged admission and switched to a small, festival-style event with a mini-procession around Pasadena City Hall. The parade drew a disappointing 2,500 spectators and 30 entries. Admission was $7 in advance and $10 at the entrance, but revenue was barely enough to cover expenses and the loss of KCOP-TV's contract fee to broadcast the parade. The TV station opted not to televise the parade in its new format.

This year, Apanel is organizing the parade with a partner, the Light-Bringer Project, a nonprofit arts organization in Pasadena. Apanel hopes that the group's support will attract more local entries, spectators and sponsors. The group is helping Apanel recruit parade entries from Pasadena's 1,200 nonprofit groups. With more local involvement, Apanel said, the parade is less likely to get out of hand.

Outsiders "didn't have any attachment to the community," he said. "The perception developed among a lot of those people that this was simply an 'Animal House' event where anything goes. It was never that way."

So far, about 40 entries have signed up for the parade, and Apanel expects about 40 more; past parades have drawn about 100 entries and 40,000 spectators. KCOP-TV officials originally had signed a contract to televise this year's parade but reneged when they could not sell enough ads. In a settlement to void the contract, KCOP paid Apanel an undisclosed fee. Doo Dah's other revenue comes from entry fees, program ads and souvenir sales.

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