File photo FESTIVE: Many in the Fourth of July Parade are known to dress up in silly costumes for the occasion. (Fabian Lewkowicz santamonicacloseup.com)

 

Summer is quickly approaching and the Ocean Park Association is already looking for volunteers to help put on this year’s 4th of July Parade.

 

The parade will kick off at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Pico and Main Street and head south toward Marine Avenue. Set-up shifts will begin two hours before the parade at 7:30 a.m. Special volunteers on bikes are needed to follow the parade along its 1.3 mile route to the beach.

 

Interested volunteers can apply at www.santamonicaparade.com. Organizers will begin taking applications for participants June 2.

 

On Tuesday, the City Council will vote whether to allocate $2,000 to the Ocean Park Association to hire a coordinator to organize and stage the parade. An additional $5,900 could go to other city expenses related to the annual event. The city plans to increase the number of law enforcement officers present during the event, according to organizer and founder Jeff Jarow.

 

In a city where events can often become victims of their own success (just look at the Fourth of July fireworks show or the recently scaled back Twilight Concert Series), the founder of the 4th of July parade knows maintaining the small town feel of his event is critical to keeping it going.

 

“It’s just the way it used to be when you were a little kid,” organizer Jeff Jarow said in an interview with the Daily Press. “To me, it’s the coolest thing in the city. It’s just the best.”

 

The parade has certainly grown over the past eleven years. In fact, the Santa Monica Fire Department estimates about 15,000 people lined Main Street for the tenth anniversary last July. Jarow keeps it local by focusing on local bands, simple floats and incorporating elementary schools and scouting groups as the focus.

 

“It’s a kid’s parade. And the adults who come to the parade, they become kids for a day also,” Jarow said.

 

Jarow wants to encourage the community to get involved and come out on Tuesday, July 4th wearing red, white and blue. Every year about 1,500 Santa Monicans walk or ride in the parade.

 

“It’s the one event I can bring to the city that makes people feel the way it used to be,” Jarow said. “This is small town America. People moved here because it was a small city and that’s it. You get to sit on the curb with your kids.”

kate@www.smdp.com