‘Time is up’: No Fourth of July parade planned this year

Girl Scouts wave to the crowd at the 88th Santa Clarita Valley Fourth of July Parade in Newhall Thursday morning. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Despite an easing of restrictions amid declining COVID-19 figures, the Fourth of July is expected to continue to look a bit different this year, according to Santa Clarita parade committee officials.

“I have not been able to get any government agency to give us anything approaching a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on whether there can be a parade this year … and our time is up,” parade committee chair Leon Worden said. “We are at the drop-dead date for beginning to plan and organize the parade — it takes about three or four months every year to plan — and you can’t plan something when you don’t know what you’ll be allowed to plan.”

The city’s Fourth of July parade is an annual tradition that involves attendance from approximately 25,000 spectators each year, as well as 3,000 participants in the parade itself.

While the fate of the parade relies on the state’s guidelines, there are none specifically for parades, leaving the parade committee to only infer what restrictions would be from those of outdoor events, with restrictions including limited attendance, required reservations and assigned seating.

“Given all of that, unless something changes dramatically and quickly, I don’t see how there can be a parade,” Worden added.

Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste, who’s also a member of the parade committee, agreed, adding that it’s nearly impossible to guarantee what the state’s restrictions will look like for an event of such magnitude.

“I just don’t see that there’s a timeline that we would be able to adequately set it up, guarantee it and protect the public,” Weste said. “As much as I’ve been wishing for it, it’s not quite there.”

The parade has been a time-honored tradition every year since 1932, except in times of national emergencies, such as for the four years during World War II (1942-1945) and then in 2020 due to COVID-19.

However, the SCV continued to find ways to display its patriotism in years without a parade.

Last year, the city’s Patriotic Tour allowed residents to decorate the front of their home or business, while the mini-parade challenged residents to create mini-parade floats for display.

Worden said this year he expects the city of Santa Clarita will come up with some fun and participatory alternative Independence Day activities, like last year’s.

“We’re going to make something wonderful happen (either way),” Weste said.

Both Worden and Weste are looking forward to 2022, when Santa Clarita can return to showing its patriotic spirit in-person.

“Come hell or high water, we will come roaring back next year with one fabulous parade,” Worden added.

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