The Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade has been around for more than 80 years, but Joe Tatum, a 50-year resident of Canyon Country, enjoyed his first one Wednesday, he said.
Tatum sat on a lawn chair on the side of Main Street in Old Town Newhall, gazing out at the procession that represented Santa Clarita’s longest-standing tradition. As kids ran along the sidewalks next to the parade floats and people shouted in glee while waving flags, Tatum relished the atmosphere.
“I will come back next year,” he said. “On this street, there’s a lot of small-town, American patriotic spirit.”
Tatum was one of several thousand Santa Clarita residents gathered to watch the parade’s 90 entrants help celebrate the Fourth of July.
Ponies with red, white and blue-dyed manes, antique cars, cheerleaders and Revolutionary War costumes marked over two hours of activity, as participants made their way down Main Street to the sounds of their cheering neighbors.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department marched while handing out sheriff’s badge stickers to kids. Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean stood on a vintage green Ford while twirling a lace blue umbrella. 25th District Congressional District candidate Katie Hill, decked out in a flag-striped shirt and a cowboy hat, also rode a horse. Rep. Steve Knight wore a casual red-and-white checkered shirt while walking next to a car bearing his congressional campaign sign.
Over 3,000 participants marched in the parade, said Leon Worden, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Fourth of July Parade committee. A few years ago, parade attendees added up to about 25,000 people, he said, but this year definitely surpassed that.
“I’ve never seen a crowd this deep,” he said, gesturing to the intersection of Market and Main streets packed with people. “Usually, they’re spread out against the street. But now there’s many, many layers to the crowd.”
Newhall resident Stacie Rowat was also among some of the first-timers. Rowat brought her two dogs, Max and Stretch, who were excited to make new friends out and about for the holiday.
“This really is a good chance to see the community,” Rowat said, standing on the curb behind parade-goers who had set up camp along the sidewalks to spectate. “There might be a bunch of your old friends you don’t see often, and they all come out for this parade.”
The parade’s 2018 Grand Marshal Fred Trueblood called it the “best day of the year.”
“Even though this community’s changed, this is the one day of the year that’s full of activity,” he said. “I loved the parade when it was small. When it was small, it was so fun because you would know all the people in the parade. But even now, the Fourth of July still feels like a small-town event.”