Hundreds of people lined Monroe Street in downtown Santa Clara on Oct. 1 to take in the sights and sounds of the 2022 Parade of Champions. Though the day started out overcast, the sun burst through in time for the start of the parade.
The parade started off with Police Chief Pat Nikolai in the D.A.R.E. car. He was followed by dozens of local marching bands, community groups and performers.
The Santa Clara Performance Dance Team brought cheers from the crowd as they boogied down Monroe Street. The Parade’s Co-Grand Marshal “Crazy” George Henderson fired up the crowd with his iconic drum. While, Co-Grand Marshal Kathleen MacDonald introduced the Santa Clara community to the members of Santa Clara Unified School District’s (SCUSD) newest high school, the Kathleen MacDonald Condors.
Both Santa Clara and Wilcox High Schools were also represented at this year’s Parade of Champions with Santa Clara High unveiling its 150th-anniversary float.
Spectator Maeve Naughton remembered taking part in the parade when she was a kid. Though she lives in nearby San Jose now, she’s made it a point to bring her family to the event since it restarted a few years ago.
“We love it. It’s just like hometown America and it’s just fun. [Gio] loves it too. It’s good fun,” said Naughton.
Three-and-a-half-year-old Gio found a lot to love about the Parade of Champions. From the fire trucks to the bubbles to waving at the people as they went by, but the highlight for him had to be seeing Grupo Foclorico’s cows.
Santa Clara High School grads Eddie and Virginia Escalante drove from Hollister and brought their family to the event. Virginia started at Buchser High School and switched to Santa Clara High during the transition in the early 1980s. They met up with Peter Martinez, a proud Buchser Bruin.
Eddie says he was happy to see the outpouring of love in the community.
“This year I think it’s very diverse. Bigger,” said Eddie. “The way the world is today with discrimination from blacks to Indians to Mexicans to whites to Asians, I was just telling my wife right now, the Indians, the Indian population, they’re the only ones that are giving out water. They’re the only ones that are giving out masks…A lot of people aren’t really acknowledging that, and we acknowledge that and we’re proud. The friendliness they have within themselves. The love. They’re expressing it and we appreciate that. I appreciate that.”
Paramjot Singh was one of the people handing out water as part of the nonprofit Sikhs for Humanity. He says the Parade of Champions was a perfect opportunity to practice one of the core tenants of the Sikh religion – sewa or selfless service.
“Regardless of where one comes from or where one belongs to, their different religion, caste or creed, we all believe in one god and the mission of giving back to the community,” said Singh. “We saw this opportunity where a lot of people are selling food and a lot of different vendors, we saw this as an opportunity to give back to our community by doing selfless service here today.”
To see all the sights from the 2022 Parade of Champions, check out the photo album on The Weekly’s Facebook Page.