Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano, CA
The Old Mission is in the background
Every year, the Swallows Day Parade celebrates the return of the migratory swallows to San Juan Capistrano. The "Fiesta de los Golondrinos" began in the 1930's. The swallows have been migrating down to Central and South America for the winter and returning to Southern California, for who knows how long? Although the swallows can be seen in the spring throughout the area, there is a special association with the city. The story is that the swallows' mud nests were being knocked down, near the Mission. The friar asked that the homes of the tiny birds be spared and the birds began nesting under the eaves of the Mission San Juan Capistrano.
The parade is very fun and features many, many horses. There are horses pulling wagons, a multitude of equestrian groups in fancy dress, mounted vaqueros (traditional Mexican cowboys), military on horseback, mounted police, draft mules, donkeys and many horses with long spectacular manes and tails. The parade also has other animals on parade. There were goats, Great Danes (the dogs, not Danish people) and even two white ducks in an enclosure on wheels.
There were interesting civic groups, such as pirates, folk dance ensembles, Team Taiwan, representatives of the indigenous community and more. Bagpipes, marching bands and marching children from area schools rounded out the event. It was a great day and the weather was perfect!
The parade is very well organized. There is ample off-site parking and then shuttle buses to the parade route. The parade started promptly at 11 AM and lasted about two hours. There is an area of booths selling food and drink. The many restaurants in the area were open, as well. We had cappuccinos and bowls of French onion soup at 10:30, so we could have a late lunch.
Team Taiwan included three lion dancers and these "sages"
If you think swallows are going parade, forget about it. They have tiny legs.