Deeply-rooted Aptos tradition returns

World’s Shortest Parade in 56th year

The World’s Shortest Parade in Aptos is a Fourth of July tradition that brings community members together, young and old, to celebrate the many people who make the small town tick.

Now in its 56th year, the theme for this year’s event is “America: Your Land, My Land, Our Land.”

The parade, which typically boasts nearly 200 entries every year, will feature floats, dance groups, dogs, children, civic groups, antique cars, the Watsonville Community Band and more. It travels from the corner of Soquel and State Park drives and continues to the Bay View Hotel.

This year’s Grand Marshals are the Santana Family, who own Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant.

Karen Hibble, co-executive director of the Aptos Chamber of Commerce, said the family has “supported so many nonprofits and so many events” throughout their more than five decades in business.

“They have been a fabulous family for our community,” she said.

Before the parade starts, attendees are invited to a pancake breakfast at Burger, 7941 Soquel Drive, from 7-10 a.m. The breakfast includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, orange juice, and coffee. Partial proceeds will be donated to Santa Cruz Search and Rescue Team. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

The parade then runs from 10 a.m. to noon, after which is Party in the Park at Aptos Village Park, featuring live music by Extra Large. Party in the Park runs to 4 p.m., and a $5 donation is suggested.

Hibble said the World’s Shortest Parade is a yearly tradition for many in the area, some of which set up their chairs along Soquel Drive the day before to secure a good viewing spot.

“It’s such a tradition that people seem to find a way to make sure they get to see the parade,” she said.

In 1961, Aptos residents Lucile Aldrich, Anne and Albert Isaacs and others were successful in their fight to prevent a zoning law that would have paved the way for a cement plant in Aptos Village. A celebration was held on Memorial Day, and was the inspiration behind a Fourth of July parade two months later.

But to keep it running another 56 years, Hibble urged attendees to help out by following parade rules and picking up their own trash. She also reminded parade entrants to steer away from “offensive acts” during the parade, as it is viewed by thousands of people and children of all ages.

“We need everybody’s help in keeping our community a safe and sane place to have this fabulous parade,” she said.

For information and registration forms, visit or call 688-1467.


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