Keeping our 52 year old Parade Tradition going strong in 2021

Mayor Lisa Gillmor has invited Ana Vargas-Smith, community leader and president of the Santa Clara Parade of Champions to discuss its 50 year history, its historic grassroots return in 2019 to a crowd of 10K in the downtown, and in 2020 a virtual parade to honor our community and front line heroes that risked their lives to save ours during COVID.

So What can we expect for 2021 from this creative group? The plan is a return to a LIVE parade format on October 9th, 2021 at 11 AM in the old downtown to celebrate our community and front line heroes in person. Taylor Amarante, announcer for the Earthquakes, will return as our Emcee for the 2021 Parade. Grand Marshals are TBA--Stay tuned. The parade will also have Sports Champs, Veterans, ROTC, Marching bands, Floats, Music, Art, Youth groups, Cultural Dancers, Drill Teams, Cheerleaders, Nonprofits and Car Clubs--the list is long with something for everyone. We plan to LIVE Stream the event as well. The Farmer's Market and Homestead Village Booth areas will be open starting at 9AM. Support the mom and pops--as they will have specials for Parade Day Goers. Lots to do and enjoy!

So let's get busy. We are taking sign ups now for Parade participation, Volunteer, the Homestead Village, Sponsorships and donations. Just go to our our website to complete the forms:

Grateful for all the support, community and leadership during a most stressful and unprecedented time in our history. The 2021 Parade will be another milestone in our long 52 year old parade history. We have been through a lot together--proud of how we all took care of one another. Cheers to future gatherings!

If you have questions about the parade-- I have answers:

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Special thanks to our Committee, City leadership and Community for all you have done to bring back this 50+ year old tradition these past 2 years!

The year 2020 has been a nonstop year of surprises and extremes. Many highs and lows but also some very amazing examples of heroism. If nothing we have learned how to Plan for detours and how to handle each zig and zag along the way. Despite the unpredictability we managed to celebrate the many amazing community leaders, front line and essential workers and heroes at 11 am on October 10th this year--thanks to the powers of gratitude, duty, virtual reality and Zoom.

What can we expect for the 2021 Santa Clara Parade of Champions? If all goes well with vaccinations, masking and social distancing, a return to an open economy and approvals by County Leadership--expect Plan A. On October 9th at 11am in Downtown Santa Clara's we will host a live parade. And if Plan A doesn't work then Plan B will a Virtual Parade of Champions. There are so many things that go right we don't want to miss an opportunity to shine a light on all that is good in our community. I hope you will join us whether its Plan A or Plan B. We are grateful for your continued support.

That said, I often wonder what if Albert Einstein could be here in 2020 with us right now, what would he tell us? I came across this classic quote and it seems like the most resolute approach to this one-of-a-kind year: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow". Cheers to our Santa Clara Champions of 2020...we look forward to gathering again next year!

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Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Santa Clara Rotary is making Christmas a bit merrier in 2020

COVID-19 has certainly changed how we gather and celebrate for the holidays. Kids are missing out on school days, and the camaraderie of their Teachers and school friends. But where there is a will there is a way so this year Santa Clara Rotary, a sponsor and community supporter of our Santa Clara Parade of Champions, has modified their Christmas4Kids event to make sure it complies with SC County COVID-19 guidelines. This year Santa and his Rotary elves on Friday, on Dec 18th will practice social distancing, wear a mask, hand sanitize while distributing coats and toys at our "Drive Through" event. We have invited 150 children ages 5-12 from underserved households within the SC Unified School district to receive an unwrapped coat, toy and a goodie bag.

Everyone in the Community is welcome to donate an unwrapped coat or toy valued at $25 or less--if you can. You shop and drop off your gift at Santa Clara Police Department, Mission City Grill or Armadillo Willy's or if you prefer shop online at our Amazon Wish list Amazon will deliver your package directly to Santa's Work Shop for you. If you miss the Dec 18th event deadline, don't worry your gifts will be distributed by Rotary to the Family Resource Center located for Christmas.

We are grateful and blessed this year for all our community and front line heroes volunteering and working keep us all safe and healthy during this unprecedented pandemic. Proud to call myself a SC Rotarian as well. To learn more about SC Rotary community events and how you can participate go to

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