The Parada Del Sol is an annual parade in Scottsdale, Arizona. My father is an active, yearly participant since he was very young.
Me: What is the Parada Del Sol?
TC: The Parada Del Sol, has been around for a very long time and it’s the larget horse drawn parade in the country. And it’s also, when I was a kid, the parade coincided with the parade del sol rodeo, so the parade was on Saturday and the rodeo is the Saturday and Sunday. It’s in the springtime and runs through Old Towne Scottsdale. Different equeestrain groups from around Arizona, different government figures, and civic groups like Native American groups and the Sherrif’s posse and the Scottsdale charros and girl scout groups all walk or ride in the parade. The streets are lined with spectators and it’s an all day affair.
Me: What is the purpose of the parade?
The purpose is to maintain the western heritage of Scottsdale. We are the west’s most western city and have a lot of pride in our western heritage. It’s a combination of our cowboy history, Native American history and Mexican history that makes up the culture of our state and we are celebrating that to remind people of the greatness of our state and to let the kids know where they are living and the history and culture that is found here in Arizona and especially Scottsdale.
Me: Who chooses the parade participants?
TC: A non-profit group has run the parade since the beginning. A committee that runs the parade chooses the participants, it’s a non-government group. It’s a lot of same groups every year with new members, but there is a lot of new groups that pop up.
Festivals and parades are great ways to express identity, whether of a nation or town. They bring together elements they deem important to their identity and display and perform that for everyone to see. The participants are either performing some aspect of their identity or the spectators are watching and passively participating. This festival is expressing the western identity of Scottsdale, Arizona and of Arizona in general by parading members of the community from all walks of life that express western culture. Whether that be an Apache group in traditional dress or the Sherif’s Posse in traditional cowboy dress on horseback. They are expressing and celebrating what they believe is their western culture. People of all backgrounds attend and participate, therefore it is an inclusive celebrating that projects a sense of community around the shared past of the state. It’s put on by a cultural group and participated in by the general public. The parade occurs in the spring when it is starting to warm up again, the name Parada Del Sol in Spanish means parade of the sun, Scottsdale, Arizona is known for its heat and it is something that all Arizonans know and consider part of their identity, that is this shared experience of the extreme heat. Therefore the sun is an important part of their daily lives. The rodeo (it does not happen anymore), is another performance and celebration of Western heritage as Arizona is the birthplace of the Rodeo,which stems from competition based on real life skills needed in cattle ranching. Therefore a rodeo is a large part of the community celebration of western heritage and tradition.