Rich History of the Parade of Champions

The "Parade of Champions" has been a time-honored legacy in Santa Clara since 1945. It ran for over 50 years by founders Larry Marsalli and Ed Cunha, spaonsored by YMI (Young Mens Institute) and numerous volunteers.  Twenty four years ago the founders retired and passed, leaving us a legacy of generations of Santa Clarans that have never forgotten the memories and sense of community that it created for half a century.


Fast forward to 2019,  a determined group of  grass roots Santa Claran locals came together to  incorporate as a charitable 501c3 nonprofit called the Santa Clara Parade of Champions (SCPOC).  For many it was a dream come to see the return of their annual hometown favorite. SCPOC's community building mission is to become a platform that connects with community groups that share our values of charity, volunteerism, and giving back.  A portion of proceeds go to a charity of our choice.  Our charitable partner for 2019 was JW House.  


The Marching bands would perform for the crowds throughout, Cheerleaders and dance teams, ROTC and Vets--there was something for everyone. And saving the best for last was the performance of the legendary Champion, Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corp rounding up the day's Entertainment.

Mr. Larry J. Marsalli (June 4, 1926 – July 2, 2018) was known as Mr. Santa Clara, lifelong resident and civil servant--was born on Santa Clara Street, went to St. Clare's School, attended Bellermine prep and graduated from Santa Clara High school.  He proudly served in WWII as an army staff seargeant. Returned home, married and started a family.  Larry was Mayor from 1967-68, and served on city council for 11 years, served and headed on numerous commissions and nonprofit boards. He was also a founding member of Mission City Community Fund and co-founder and Chairman of the YMI Annual Parade of Champions. His community service lives on through the Marsalli Family Foundation.  He has inspired generations into community service.  Its this love of community that has also inspired our SCPOC board of directors and volunteers to keep our beloved parade going for another 50 years!  


In its early days, when Fall rolled around in Santa Clara, the community knew what the biggest attraction was going to be--the annual YMI sponsored Parade of Champions! The Parade featured the best of Santa Clara, was well-attended, in fact at its peak it was second only to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. 


The Parade showcased  Santa Clara's  champions from Civic and community leaders like the Mayor, City Council and Manager all riding in vintage convertibles, to floats featuring local businesses, Little  Leagues and Scouts, School teams,  Olympians, Santa Clara Swim Club,  Aquamaids, Police Chief and Department, Fire Chief and Department, that years newly crowned Miss Santa Clara and her court as well, as the S.E.S. Queen and Princesses--all would proudly be waving throughout the parade.

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Historic Downtown Santa Clara, CA  


Santa Clara Parade of Champions is a 501c3 Organization

© 2018 Parade of Champions