Nothing says St. Patrick's Day quite like the much-loved Hermosa Beach parade, in its 19th staging this March 16.
Parade marchers, bands, floats and spectators are invited to join the parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. near the staging area at city hall on Valley Drive. After a short distance, the parade route turns left onto Pier Avenue, ending at the corner of Hermosa Avenue and 10th Street.
Sponsored and put on by the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce, which took over in 2011 when the city couldn't fund the event, the parade brings a reported 30,000 people to the city.
"We wanted to do our part to keep it going," said Matt Bennett, communications manager for the chamber. "It's a nice event for the city."
Bagpipers, floats and four-legged friends from the Irish Setters Club of Southern California typically participate in the parade, according to the chamber website. Participants are selected for "their uniqueness, appearance and entertainment value."
"This event definitely attracts people from around the area," Bennett said. "It's a fun day to enjoy a parade and then stick around and enjoy Hermosa Beach for the rest of the day."
The parade typically is limited to 100 entrants, and anyone wishing to be in the parade can download an application. Paraders must wear a uniform, uniformed attire or costume and vehicles must be clean and decorated.
Other rules include "No advocating, opposing, depicting or endorsing of any political, religious, or social issues or persons," as written in rules provided on the website.
The cost to enter the parade is $25, $50 and $100, depending on the nature of your entry. As an example, school marchers pay $25, a nonprofit organization pays $50 and a float will cost $100.
According to Bennett, the parade fees offset the cost of staging the parade. "It's not something we're going to turn a profit on," he said. "We're interested in keeping it going, making sure it happens."
Parade costs include security, parade management and street closures. "We're really looking out for everybody," said Bennett. "We want to make sure it's done right."
Bennett said parade participants are required to not throw or hand out anything, including throwing candy from a float. "A kid could get excited and jump out into harm's way," he noted. "That's what we're trying to prevent. We haven't had any incidents." The parade is "forward-motion" with no stopping.
The city has been "very cooperative" in helping stage the parade and Bennett applauds the sponsors, many of which are local businesses, who step forward in support. Sponsors pay $500, $1,500 or $5,000 and receive a package of benefits assigned to each pay level. Interested sponsors can get an application here.
Parade applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Feb. 22nd.