music in the park san jose

As you read this in the morning, I will be on my way to San
Benito Street with my camp stool and thermos to stake out a spot
for the Horse Show parade.
As you read this in the morning, I will be on my way to San Benito Street with my camp stool and thermos to stake out a spot for the Horse Show parade.

I wish.

Actually I will be at work and will have to zoom home, park the car, hoof it over to San Benito Street and look for a good spot. Even if I end up with a bad spot from which to view the parade, it will be worth it.

The full name of this event is the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce Horse Show Parade and Fiesta, and it is the most visible kickoff to the actual Horse Show and Rodeo, which takes place all weekend.

I’ve watched the parade just about every year since we moved here and actually ridden in it once, on the Hollister Downtown Association float.

It has everything a parade needs: marching bands, majorettes, horses, earnestly decorated floats with waving kids, dignitaries in convertibles, big trucks and a fire truck or two.

The horses are especially amazing. I’m impressed that I’ve never seen one flip out and bolt for the sidelines, given the amount of noise from the big trucks, the darting children (who aren’t allowed on the parade route, but occasionally their excitement bounces them into it), and the overall high energy level. Instead they seem to tiptoe with tense dignity, maintaining their correct spot in the lineup.

And the spectators lining the street are part of the spectacle. There really are people with camp stools and thermoses. Families set up compounds with a half dozen chairs, a cooler, sunglasses for the setting sun and sweaters for the afternoon wind. Staff of businesses fortunate enough to have second-story offices lean out of the windows for an unobstructed view.

The reason this is all so great is that it’s a perfect example of small-town cooperation. The Chamber of Commerce staff and volunteers cheerfully field last-minute requests and questions as first-timers and old-timers alike prepare for their march past the judging stand.

The marching bands and horse entries don’t need a lot of decoration. The dignitaries rely on their well-known faces or a magnetic sign to identify themselves. But other entries go all-out with elaborate floats depicting a school, a barnyard or a desert island.

The great thing is, they’re all homemade. They’re not corporate. They all live here (or nearby). It really is a San Benito County parade. Every crepe-paper cornstalk was shaped by somebody’s hand.

So if you have never been to the parade, or if you can’t decide whether to go this year, or if you’ve decided not to bother, I say: Dig out the camp stool or folding chair, gather your sunglasses and sweater and go settle in on San Benito Street. If you don’t have the luxury of sitting there all day, or even a couple of hours, try to get there by 5:30.

Then turn off your cell phone and just sit there. Because in today’s frenzied world, it’s wonderful to watch an event where the winning speed is “slow.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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