The calendar may say that June 21 is the first day of summer, but Huntington Beach's favorite season arrived five days early this year, showing up kicking and screaming on a Sunday afternoon with the annual Dragging of the Cop ceremony on Main Street.
On a hot, sunny day that seemed heaven-sent for Surf City's tradition of summertime hell raising, Officer Kirstin Innis was dragged approximately 40 feet by the parade pace car, a 1997 Toyota Camry allegedly driven by grand marshal Jose Hernandez of Garden Grove.
Tradition says the successful dragging of a law-enforcement official means three more months of summer.
This year's event was witnessed by a wide-eyed crowd of hundreds, many of whom were so moved that they hung around for the Questioning of Witnesses event, held immediately afterward.
Of course, what everybody wanted to know was the officer's condition. Thankfully, after shaking herself loose from the driver's-side window, Innis landed relatively unharmed on scraped and bloodied elbows and knees. According to local lore, this signifies the kind of summer Huntington Beach is famous for: exceptionally long and oppressive.
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We'll find out for sure in 12 days. That's when the cops get a chance to keep alive a little tradition of their own: the annual Open a Can o' Whoop-Ass celebration, which has become a companion event to the city's annual Fourth of July parade. Locals and tourists alike marvel at the realistic hint of martial law—which in past years has included billy clubs and pepper spray—presented by the men and women of the HB police department.