It’s time to start dusting off the grill, stocking up on sparklers and tracking down that American flag swimsuit; the 4th of July is on its way, and this year bringing with it the well welcomed return of the Main Street parade.
This annual patriotic event was launched in 2007 and has since become a beloved community tradition and one of the few times a year when the bustling tourism and transit heavy city of Santa Monica closer resembles a quaint and tight knit neighborhood.
After a two year pandemic-induced hiatus, this year’s parade will feature all of its usual fanfare: live music from local performers, food from Main Street vendors, and one hundred decked out vehicles/floats participating.
The key change is that this year the route will run in reverse, as the normal staging area in the Civic Center parking lot is inaccessible due to construction. Instead staging will take place at the South Beach Lots at the end of Ashland Ave. The parade will proceed east up Marine St. for one block and then turn left to travel northwards along Main St. until reaching Pico Blvd.
“I want to give back to the people something that everybody’s in agreement about, and everybody loves the parade,” said parade founder and organizer Jeff Jarow. “Especially after COVID, people can’t wait for this parade. They are so excited to be out there and experience a nice holiday… and this year our specific message is ‘thank you to our essential workers, we couldn’t have done it without you’.”
According to Jarow, individuals and groups from all over the city will be participating including hotels, the fire department, the police department, Santa Monica teachers and the Samohi marching band.
“It’s for the entire community, we don’t exclude anybody… everybody is invited to participate, everybody is invited to spectate,” said Jarow. “It’s a hometown parade where you can see your friends out there, you can listen to music, you can see funny things, it’s just a real participatory parade.”
Anyone who wants to bring a vehicle to the parade can sign up at santamonicaparade.com/participants.html. Participants will be asked to arrive between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. so that SMPD can complete vehicle inspections and all vehicles can line up. The parade will then kick off at 9:30 a.m. with spectators welcome to view from any point in the procession.
This year the parade is seeking both sponsors and volunteers to ensure the event runs smoothly and everyone who wants to has the opportunity to participate. Volunteers can sign up for pre-parade set up, if they wish to march in the parade, or they can sign up to help maintain a safe and fun environment during the parade. Set up volunteers arrive at 7:30 a.m. and parade route volunteers arrive at 9 a.m. Coffee, water and snacks will be available for all.
Because the parade was started by a group of residents in Ocean Park it does not have significant funding and sponsors are sought to help pay for parade production, advertising, security and decorations. Major sponsors will have their company logo featured on the official parade poster and on all parade promotional materials. They are also invited to participate in the parade with a float, a band or marchers in their preferred sequence.
More information on sponsorship opportunities can be found at santamonicaparade.com/sponsor-sign-up.html.