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2020 Santa Clara Parade of Champions Goes Virtual

Santa Clara’s 2020 Parade of Champions is marching on virtually on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. and has expanded to include a city-wide yard and business decorating contest that makes it possible for virtually everyone to participate — all for free.

The online virtual parade video highlighting community and frontline heroes will launch on the SCPOC website, where it will stream from YouTube and on social media platforms. Afterwards, it will be available for viewing on YouTube.

Bay Area nonprofits, schools, churches and community groups, entertainers and businesses need to apply by Sept. 26 to be included in the parade video of about 60 minutes.

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“We want to capture 2020 in the voices and images of our community,” said SCPOC president Ana Vargas-Smith. “We want to upload their perspective on who their heroes are and how they helped them to cope.

“We want to capture how the community rallied and came together despite all the challenges this year,” continued Vargas-Smith. “We want to shine a light on unexpected heroes in our community who are keeping us healthy and safe.”

Parade applicants should visit the SCPOC website and submit photos, group information, or videos of 15 to 60 seconds of a concert, performance or skit with a message thanking community heroes. Political or controversial content will not be accepted.

Yard and business display contestants need to register by Sept. 26 and leave displays up through Oct. 10. Vote for the People’s Choice display on the SCPOC website by Oct. 4.

Skeleton Crew Santa Clara is already at work on its display: “Essential Workers Make Our World Go ‘Round.”

City residents Julie DeNeve and Charles Christy have a lineup of skeletons in their closets awaiting transformation into essential workers in the front yard of their home on Atherton Dr. at Kellogg Way.

DeNeve explained that the Skeleton Crew was a yard display of skeletons created during the pandemic to bond the community when so much was being taken away. Since skeletons are dead, they aren’t affected by the virus and can “live” as everyone used to live before the virus.

“It is our pleasure to bring this happy skeleton story back to honor our heroes as part of the Parade of Champions because essential workers deserve our deepest gratitude,” said DeNeve.

The Santa Clara Parade of Champions is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, funded through City grants and sponsors. It began in 1945 to welcome home returning WWII veterans. It continued until 1995 when Larry Marsalli, a primary founder, retired from community service.

The parade didn’t make a comeback until 24 years later. Volunteers interested in re-creating Santa Clara’s downtown banded together in 2019 to bring back the parade, which drew about 2,000 participants and 10,000 viewers.

“No doubt that we will be looking back on 2020 and remember how amazing our community and frontline heroes have been,” said Vargas-Smith. “We are safe and healthy and coping because they put their own lives at risk to protect ours. This is a huge sacrifice, and we want to honor them.”

Plan ahead for next year’s live Parade of Champions on Oct. 9, 2021.

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