The Unstoppable DIY New Years Eve Parade
Despite Santa Cruz City Efforts, Do-It-Yourself Community Celebration Marks Eight Years
Santa Cruz, CA, December 12th, 2012: On New Year's Eve, as it has for the past eight years, Santa Cruz will again host the Last Night DIY New Years Parade, an event with a long history as a homespun, family-friendly alternative celebration, despite city attempts to portray it as dangerous and irresponsible. The result of eight years of do-it-yourself community organizing, the Last Night DIY Parade, a community-sponsored New Year's Eve celebration will again hit Santa Cruz streets.
The Do-It-Yourself parade invites families, friends, and lovers to come and enjoy a community celebration. Bring your bikes and your costumes, unicycles and musical instruments, drums and banners and noise makers, to bring in the new year in a celebration together.
Community members carefully handle organization, traffic control, and cleanup. Every New Years Eve since 2004, the DIY celebration has been peaceful, creative, and fun.
However, because of its lack of official sanction, civic leaders have opposed the celebration from the beginning. The community-organized event has survived police infiltration of planning meetings, official condemnation, targeting of planners and individuals, and frequent comparison to events that resulted in violence and vandalism. After eight years, the celebration, however, has enjoyed a spotless record.
"While police and civic leaders try to frighten us with the specter of downtown violence, we just want to participate in a communal celebration with our neighbors," said Elizabeth Burchfield. "They should be ashamed to oppose a peaceful community event. We are tired of being afraid. It's time to organize together."
In 2004, Santa Cruz police made national news after they were discovered infiltrating the parade planning group. An outcry by community members with the help of the ACLU put in place rules to severely restrict local surveillance operations of community groups.
According to the Last Night DIY website, the parade, from its beginnings in 2004, was not about merely celebrating, "but celebrating what we as a community can do ourselves, without corporate or city-sponsorship. It is a celebration of both our autonomy and the support we offer each other."
As with other years, organization is spontaneous and open. There is no single group of organizers. "Everyone who participates makes it happen," said Burchfield.
This year on New Year's Eve, the DIY Parade will meet at 5pm near the Saturn Cafe parking lot on Pacific Ave and Spruce Street. Fliers for the event are online at the website at http://lastnightdiy.org