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Grateful to our Community for Celebrating our Pandemic Heroes!

Stay tuned--our Parade Film Crew is working hard on completing the final edits to our 1.5 hour Parade Video to be shown on Comcast City Channel 15 or AT&T 99. Check your cable listings...

What an amazing turn out by the community to celebrate our community and front line heroes in Person. It was an eclectic, diverse and a one-of-a-kind nostalgic celebration. Looking back on the parade day, its been exactly the booster shot the community needed to get us through the holidays and the next stage of the Pandemic.

Santa Clara Downtown came alive from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with community activites around the 10 block downtown area. Mom and pops, Farmer's Market vendors and Community NPOs and Salsa fans were ready for the crowds. There was something for everyone. The bleachers and lawn chairs were filling up along the Parade route early in the morning.


The Opening Ceremonies opened with the Pledge of Allegiance by all and a Flag Ceremony by Scout Troop 600. Adding to the somber moment was a soulful rendition of the national anthem sung by local Portuguese-American singer Crystal Mendes. Taylor Amarante, local Earthquakes announcer, introduced our speakers: Mayor Lisa Gillmor shared the history of our 52nd year old parade and words of gratitude for our heroes and community who have braved the pandemic for the last 19 months. Echoing the same sentiment was County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg who offered words of praise for our essential workers and hope for the next stage of the pandemic. Last but not least, the Santa Clara Parade of Champions President Ana Vargas-Smith shared the joys of seeing community in person and celebrating our heroes after months of isolation while sheltering in place.


Earlier that morning Council member Raj Chahal and Assembly member Alex Lee and SCPOC President Ana Vargas-Smith were invited by the Fateh Foundation along with Scout Troop 1699 at Townsend Field to honor the life and sacrifices of Korean Veteran Ken Kitajima, who at age 12 was moved with his family from Santa Clara County to the Heart Mountain Japanese Internment camp in Colorado during WWII.

Ken attributes joining the boy scouts at the camp as a great coping mechanism for many of the youth interned like himself. Despite that experience, he bravely joined the US Air force as a surgical nurse and fought in the Korean War until its conclusion in 1954. He returned to civilian life and chose a career as a science educator for SJUSD. At age 91 he continues to inspire volunteerism and giving back to community. Pictured here is Ken wearing his vintage military uniform, riding with his family with the NPO WWII Spirit of '45 group. On the side of his car is own hand crafted sign honoring the service and sacrifice of his fellow US Veterans.


As has been traditional since 1945, we open and end the Parade with our community frontline heroes--this year was our SCPD Chief Nikolai and ending with our Motorcycle Police officers. Leading the way in the Dare Car riding with the Chief Nikolai was Daren the Lion. Color guard was carried by SCU ROTC followed by Merced County Sheriff's Equestrian Unit on horseback.

Our SCFD Chief Ruben Torres was riding the vintage Wedge with his SCFD team, the County FD Chief, the Bay to Brooklyn retired Firefighters who honored the 20th anniversary of

9/11 by cycling 3K miles across country, and our Mission College Fire Fighters Academy Students--all came out in full force. To mark the occasion, SCPOC arranged for a 20 foot Smokey the Bear to join the celebration.

Our Grand Marshal this year was Krazy George, and true to form, he was determined to bring his brand of "Krazy" to the crowds lined up along the mile long route. After the pandemic uncertainties and its many highs and lows--seeing Krazy George seemed to be what the doctor ordered. Did you know he was a Santa Clara Buchser High School Teacher before finding fame as as professional cheerleader and inventor of the wave 40 years ago?

To catch Krazy George in action working the route and energizing crowds--watch the KPIX News Coverage by John Ramos here: Beloved Parade of Champions Returns to Santa Clara - YouTube.



We had many community service groups like MCCF, Kiwanis, SC Rotary Club celebrating its 85th anniversary, and SC Community COVID "Hero of the Year" the River of Life Church--all were stand outs with amazing well thought out displays and float designs.

For all our Marching Band Fans--we were spoiled with some local greats! Seven Time World Champions Santa Clara Vanguard, SJSU Spartans, Mission San Jose High School band, Union Middle School, Silicon Valley Bagpipes and the local Santa Clara Portuguese Uniao Filarmonica.


For a city of only 130K, our parade was certainly representative of the wonderful diversity at the center of what is possible in Silicon Valley. This year we had the hundreds from the Sikh community, beautiful floats with messages celebrating essential workers, and our hard working farm workers, a Sikh motorcycle club, plus many youth groups from scouts, to cricket and hockey players to and marshal arts.

Returning this year were the Portuguese American NPO community groups like 125 year old Historic Landmark S.E.S, board members and their queens from Saint Anthony, Our Lady of Fatima, and Newark PFSA, and the San Jose Historic Museum. First timers in our parade were the Silicon Valley Korean American Federation who showcased their youth K Pop groups, Taekwondo Champions as seen on America's Got Talent and Cultural dance, performance and drumming groups as well as the Mexican American LGBQIA+ Ensemble Folcoloric Colibri. There was something for everyone.


Overall there were over 2K participating in the parade this year and thousands watching. To see it is to believe it, I highly recommend joining our Facebook group and catching up on all the latest community news, photos, videos and updates about the launch of the 2021 Parade Program this month to Channel 15: (13) Santa Clara Parade of Champions | Facebook.


As you may have guessed we are already planning for our next parade tentatively October 1st, 2022--so Save that Date! Next year's will include Salsa on the Square again by Volare and more artisans and food vendors will be added to the Community Village. Learn more about what is next at www.scparadeofchampions.org


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