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Fourth of July Parade in Santa Monica Expected to Draw Big Crowd
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Lookout Staff

June 30, 2016 -- A decade ago, it was just a tiny hometown parade. Time, though, can make a difference.

An estimated 9,000 spectators are expected to descend on Main Street Monday for Santa Monica’s 10th Annual Fourth of July Parade as it slowly rolls along its 1.4-mile route, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Pico and Main.

The roster will include U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu and a large number of state and city politicians, plus more than 1,000 floats, bands, vintage automobiles and trucks, horses (one ridden by the mayor), bicyclists, walkers and others.

About 90 entries have signed up for the parade, totaling more than a thousand participants, according to the Ocean Park Association, which is hosting the event.

The parade will wind its way from its Main Street/Pico starting point to Marine and west onto Barnard Way, concluding at the beach parking lot.

Organizers said streets and intersections on and around Main Street south of Olympic will be closed for the event, and spectators are “encouraged” to walk, cycle or park early in the Civic Center parking lot or structure. It is accessible by Fourth Street only, across from the Doubletree Hotel. Parking in these lots is a $5 maximum.

What began as a modest event cobbled togther by a neighborhood group and drew a few thousand onlookers -- many of them patrons surprised to see a parade winding past the store -- has swelled into an eagerly anticipated community celebration.

Since it was launched in 2007 by a small group of volunteers unsure they could pull it off a second time, the parade has featured a blend of old-fashioned, small-town parade staples and Santa Monica’s fondness for the unorthodox ("Santa Monica Turns Out In Force for Independence Day Parade," July 5, 2007").

In addition to smiling elected officials and bands playing a range of musical styles, there are usually ball clubs and meal providers, officers and firefighters and lifeguards, boy scouts, girl scouts, conservationists, preservationists, Elks and low-riders. There has even been a life-sized cut-out of Elvis.

Past parades have also included eveything from men adorned in pink evening gowns and muscle-ripped acrobats from Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach to an anti-war float with a blackened U.S. flag in the shape of a disco ball.

It doesn't get more American than that.

Among the elected officials expected to ride or walk the route this year are Lieu, State Senator Ben Allen, Assembly Member Richard Bloom, Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez (scheduled to ride on horseback) and a bevy of current City Council members and former Santa Monica mayors, including Judy Abdo, Michael Feinstein, Ruth Goldway, Bob Holbrook, Paul Rosenstein and Nat Trives.

City Manager Rick Cole and Deputy City Manager Elaine Polachek will also ride in the parade.

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