Each July, Santa Monica residents celebrate Independence Day weekend with down-home parade featuring classic cars, fire trucks, and members of the Santa Monica Community
The 2023 parade returns to its classic route. The parade kicks off promptly at 9:30am at Pico and Main Street, traveling South on Main Street before turning right onto Marine, ending at Barnard Way. You can watch the parade anywhere along the Main Street route as classic cars and community organizations make their way to Lot 5 South by the beach. The official parade grandstand will be located in front of the Ocean Park Library at the corner of Ocean Park and Main Street.
Fans of Pacific Park should keep an eye out for Inkie the Octopus, the amusement park’s lovable pink mascot. Inkie will be riding in the parade along with other community members and local tourism representatives.
The 4th of July is a great time to bond with your neighbors and celebrate the founding of the Unites States. Since 1785, US Independence Day has been celebrated with a parade. The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island which began in 1785. Their parade has been held every year since 1785, making it the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States. Santa Monica joined this tradition in 2007 when neighbors from the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica arranged for a parade along Main Street. Aside from a brief hiatus during the 2020 & 2021 pandemic, Santa Monicans have gathered on the sidewalks of their Main Street to greet neighbors, show off their best red, white, and blue outfits, and wave hello to parade participants.
Visitors to Main Street in Santa Monica on July 4 can expect to see Santa Monica first responders in police cars and fire trucks, local elected leaders and community representatives, and local Santa Monica businesses in a parade of classic cars, emergency vehicles, and even a double-decker bus! The parade also features live music from local bands and colorful characters from all corners of Santa Monica.
The Santa Monica 4th of July Parade was started by a group of residents in Ocean Park who wanted to have a way to celebrate the founding of this country, but also their beloved Santa Monica community. Parade organizers depend on generous sponsors in order to make that happen. If you are interested in supporting the parade, reach out the organizers on the parad’s official website, www.santamonicaparade.com. (https://www.santamonicaparade.com/home.html)
Visitors to Santa Monica should remember that on the 4th of July much of Main Street and some adjacent streets leading to it will be closed to vehicle traffic from 6AM – 12PM. Public parking is available at several parking lots off Neilson Way and beach lots to the west. When visiting Santa Monica, remember to be mindful of residential parking restrictions on streets where a parking permit must be displayed. When planning your visit to Santa Monica, consider walking, biking or taking the metro to watch the parade.
For more information about Santa Monica’s 4th of July Parade, including links to register or sponsor the event, visit www.santamonicaparade.com. (https://www.santamonicaparade.com/home.html)
The parade is organized and managed by OPA founder and Jeff Jarow. He was the community liaison for the Main Street Business Improvement District (MSBID), which is responsible for dealing with issues regarding Main Street and the Farmers Market, including putting the valet bike racks and free parking at the beach on Sunday mornings. He was also the Co-Chair of the Ocean Park Blvd. Beautification Project.
Jeff is currently President of the Santa Monica Sister City Association (Fujinomiya, Japan – Kizugawa, Japan – Hamm, Germany – Mazatlan, Mexico – Brighton, England, and more to come). He also serves on the Boards of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and Santa Monica Pier Corporation, and has served with Santa Monica (FREE) Symphony, SM Family YMCA and is the Legislative Rep of the PTA. Jeff has lived in our community for over 40 years.
Ocean Park Association
Located in the southwest corner of Santa Monica is the Ocean Park neighborhood. This neighborhood has a mix of older smaller homes and apartment buildings and condos. Several housing towers are located along the beach. The area has a funky, artsy feel similar in manner to its neighbor Venice Beach. The Ocean Park Association (OPA) is a group of Santa Monica Residents who advocate for Santa Monica resident issues, provide useful information and access to community leaders, and engage in charitable, educational, and cultural activities–all with the emphasis on fun.
Feature image courtesy of OPA