Swallows Day Parade 2012 in the Books

Everybody loves a parade in San Juan Capistrano.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, well, we don't even want to calculate how many words these photos may be worth!

The Swallows Day 2012, the 54th version of the annual tradition, is in the books. The parade featured 193 entrants, eveything from 400 horses, 11 marching bands and numerous floats to marching pirates, hula dancers and pizza tossers.

One participant who could hardly believe the day was finally here was Herb Langefeld, who didn't mean to stir up a controversy when he asked to participate with his dog Oliver and the Canine Companions group. 

Langefeld is in an electric wheelchair, and organizers have always prided themselves on having the self-proclaimed largest non-motorized parade in the world. 

The , the , which runs most of the events celebrating the annual return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano, to drop its prohibition against electric wheelchairs.

"I can't tell you how excited Herb has been," his sister Heidi told Patch before the parade. If anyone could have a smiler bigger than ear-to-ear, it would have been Herb.

Asked how long he's been waiting for this day, Herb said: "Forever."

One little guy who wasn't so sure about the hubbub was a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig name Pedro. Natalie Garrett, a sophomore at Dana Hills High, was just hoping he and his little legs could make it through the judging section.

Pedro did just fine, walking with the Italian delegation representing San Juan Capistrano's sister city, Capestrano, Italy. Patch Editor Penny Arévalo and Sales Manager Megan Silkman were invited to don their green shirts and join in on the Italian fun, shouting "buon giorno."

Jeff Schroeder, publicity chairman for the Fiesta Association, the private group that organizes all the events of Fiesta de las Golondrinas, said between 35,000-40,000 people attended the parade, which went off without a hitch.

Organizers were able to make some small improvements, Schroeder said.

"[We] kept delays between groups down to a minimum," he said.


ms.sc. March 25, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Fun! Great to see people smile!
Sonia Ventura March 29, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Penny Arévalo March 29, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Yes, he is! Love that mode of transportation he's got going therer.


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