Mr. Spock: Pear Blossom Parade Marshal
Over the years the Rogue Valley Pear Blossom Festival parade has had many famous grand marshals, but 40 years ago, the parade marshal was literally out of this world!
Leading the parade down Medford’s main street that Saturday, April 15th 1967 was Mr. Spock from the planet Vulcan. The alien spaceman was actually actor Leonard Nimoy, who was one of the main cast members on the television series Star Trek, a show about human space exploration set hundreds of years in the future. Mr. Spock was the ever-logical Science Officer aboard the starship Enterprise.
To the delight of fans, Nimoy appeared in the parade dressed in his powder blue uniform and sporting Mr. Spock’s distinctive pointed ears and slanted eyebrows. Nimoy made local television appearances and was scheduled to visit the pediatric wards of both Medford hospitals.
Nimoy was also marshal of the longest parade in Festival history - around 200 entries of “floats, bands, beauty pageant contestants, walking groups, horses, antique cars, dogs, clowns, circus elephants” and more. The theme was “Pears in Circus Land”, and the largest street-side crowd in Medford history gathered to watch the parade march into Hawthorne Park.
There, Nimoy was reportedly mobbed by Earthlings eager to get his autograph.
Sources: “Pear Blossom Parade Marshal To Be ‘In Costume’ Saturday,” Mail Tribune, Thursday, April 14, 1967; “Largest Crowd Sees Longest Parade in History,” Mail Tribune, Sunday, April 16, 1967, p.1.