People in the Santa Ynez Valley love a good parade. We have parades for Christmas and Danish Days, Old Santa Ynez Days and Los Olivos Day in the Country. When Independence Day rolls around, Solvang hosts the festivities.
Thousands of people line the streets, locals and tourists alike. Highway 246 through town is shut down so that we can celebrate the holiday in our own unique style. This isn’t Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or even Pasadena’s Parade of Roses. Instead of beautiful animatronic floats covered with roses, we have a truckload of Vikings towing a wooden statue of Odin in their wake.
We’ve got bikers on Harleys and Trikkers with babies on their backs. Our parade features Boy Scouts, belly dancers and obstinate cows leaving patties behind. Here you’ll see a Danish Days Maid followed by cowboys, stuntmen and Mexican folklorico dancers. While children dive for candy as it’s thrown in the street, tractors, fire trucks and classic cars roll by. In the background, bounce houses, game stands and cotton candy carts come to life on the grounds of the Old Mission Santa Inés where the masses will converge for barbecue, raffles and a concert before the main event: the fireworks.
The street sweeper signals the end of the parade. Sucking up candy wrappers and horse dookie delight, it cleans the pavement for the crowd that follows behind. Our family has been in the parade before. This year it was nice to just sit on the sidelines, wave to our friends as they went by, and collect a bit of candy. After all, any holiday that doesn’t require formal clothes, presents or lots of money is a good celebration.