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View other events for the week of 12/31/2011
The Unstoppable DIY New Years Eve Parade
Date Saturday December 31
Time 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Location Details
The DIY Parade will meet at 5pm near the Saturn Cafe parking lot on Pacific Ave and Spruce Street.
Event Type Party/Street Party
Organizer/AuthorDIY Community

Despite City Efforts, Do-It-Yourself Community Celebration Marks Seven Years


On New Year's Eve, as it has for the past seven years, Santa Cruz will again host the Last Night DIY New Years Parade, what has become both a homespun, family-friendly alternative celebration and a controversial embarrassment for the city. The result of seven 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.

Every New Years since 2004, the DIY celebration has been peaceful, creative, and fun. Community members carefully handle organization, traffic control, and cleanup. However, because of its lack of official sanction, civic leaders have opposed the celebration from the beginning. This year, police tried to shut down the parade by selectively targeting individuals who participated. In spite of the DIY parade's spotless record, Police used the unrelated violence on May 1st, 2010 to argue that all unpermitted events were potentially dangerous.

"While the 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. "We are tired of being afraid. It's time to organize together."

In 2004, Santa Cruz police 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

Added to the calendar on Tuesday Dec 20th, 2011 11:45 AM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Becky Johnson
Thursday Dec 22nd, 2011 5:02 AM
Oh, goodie. Another opportunity to get a citation in the mail months after "walking in an unpermitted parade."

Wes Modes was actually CONVICTED of this! (proof positive of a police state in Santa Cruz).

Just remember. Despite any petty bureaucrat. Despite any lying cop. Despite any local yahoo ordinance.

We have the RIGHT to freedom of speech, the RIGHT to peaceably assemble, and the RIGHT to be able

to seek redress for govt. grievances. ALL of these are being challenged by the SCPD, the Downtown Association,
The Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Cruz County sheriffs, and the Santa Cruz City Council. The Board of Supes
have been ineffectively silent while repression goes on under their noses.

Assert your rights!!

As long as you are not obstructing traffic, causing a health or safety hazard, then you have the RIGHT to assert these powers.

Don't let the turkeys tell you otherwise!
by Robert Norse
Friday Dec 23rd, 2011 3:57 AM
For those who don't mind the stinky swamp of Sentinelspeak, check out the SCPD-friendly perspective at .

There I posted the following comment--which might be of interest here as well:

For history buffs, here's a bit of the SCPD/City intimidation history against the DIY New Year's Parade:

"Undercover Officers Monitor New Years Planners" at
"Photos: 'Just Us' Action Against SCPD Spying" at
"Unanswered Questions" at
"Undercover Follies: A Santa Cruz police official investigates himself after undercover operations stir up controversy " at
"Investigation Reveals More Police Spying" at
"Police Auditor's Report Reportedly Available in Main Library" at
"Everyone Loves A Parade" at
"Councilmembers in Copland" at
"City Threatens Arrests in DIY Parade" at

For those with less historical enthusiasm, simply check out the last article.

Last year there was pressure to shut down the parade early, but no arrests or subsequent citations were issued for "parading without a permit". Nor did the police wail about the costs of showing up earlier (mostly civilians themselves successfully direct traffic--it is, after all, a DIY (do -it-yourself) parade).

In the few months there have been plenty of parade protests via the Occupy movement throughout the country (and even here!). Let's keep it going, folks!
by Frank Whiting
Sunday Dec 25th, 2011 1:06 PM
I have to agree with the characterization of the DIY parade as "homespun" and a "controversial embarrassment for the city".

I brought some out-of-town guests to the parade a few years back. All we saw were around half a dozen people saunter past us on Pacific, one of whom had an upside down trash can that he kept beating on, somewhat arrhythmmically. We weren't actually sure whether we were witnessing the parade, or if these were random passersby. Since nothing else happened for a while, we assumed it was the advertised parade, and we left and headed over to the Red Room for a stiff cocktail.

My guests were nonplussed at my choice of entertainment, and I was pretty red-faced, let me tell you. Luckily, the cocktails made us forget all about it by the next morning.
by Robert Norse
Sunday Dec 25th, 2011 10:21 PM
...Check out Bradley's photos at

Or, better still, put on your dancing shoes and come to this year's!
by Robert Norse
Thursday Dec 29th, 2011 9:11 AM
While some of Santa Cruz Patch stories have been okay--they've at least bothered to cover events a year ago around the Bradley Manning protests at the Town Clock--this latest one is worse than Sentinel coverage: sensational, without any historical memory (that police have done their best to suppress ir--to the extent of illegitimate surveillence back in 2005), and heavy on the police PR (highlighted comments by the awful Deputy-Chief Clark).

The latest story ain't so good: .

The whole story tends to rouse fears that people will be cited for First Amendment activity. Last year similar threats were made by police officials and city bureaucrats, but there were no citations issued, either at the event or subsequently, as far as I know. Still the threats had the impact of creating a smaller turnout for a family-friendly now-traditional event.

I speculate that Vogel's PD didn't issue tickets because folks were angry about the Kangeroo Court prosecution of Wes Modes in 2010 and police feared a reaction.

This year, having stirred up some misplaced media middle-class outrage about a brief and healthy occupation of an empty bank building, Clark and Vogel are emboldened to threaten again.

Don't be intimidated. Photograph the wasteful use of police who aren't needed for this largely booze-free celebratory event. Post and document what happens. And please let the community know if any citations do issue.
by wilde gurl
Friday Dec 30th, 2011 9:25 AM
Frank... I'm guessing you missed the parade. Go to youtube and search for "Santa Cruz New Year's Eve Parade". You can see what you missed every year.

And really, do you think the cops would have their panties in such a twist if there was just one guy with a drum?
by Bob Lamonica
Friday Dec 30th, 2011 10:21 AM
I'm a Green-Eco-Feminist,
I'm an anti-fascist Fascist,
I'm a scavenger-leech.

I deny corruptive affiliation,
I deny self empowerment,
I refuse to assert accountability.

I will not admit imperfection,
My influence has no significance,
I am powerless.

Give me consensus, group consensus,
To hide behind, to mask the fear, to bypass vulnerability.

Our broad coalition, untainted by implementation, can seize control.

We call our collective influence "Consensus."
Say "Consensus."

by Robert Norse
Saturday Dec 31st, 2011 6:33 AM
by RazerRay
Saturday Dec 31st, 2011 8:45 PM

It's 8:23 PM New Years Eve and I just watched a uniformed security guard outside the Palomar hotel unload a group of 20-somethings from the back of a 'plain white wrapper' First Alarm pickup truck with camper shell (They weren't legally seated either), The group of three males and one female walked off and the guard drove the truck away.

As someone was saying here:

by Thos Enns
Monday Jan 2nd, 2012 1:04 PM
I saw the same thing an hour later at Depot Park, near the Police Department. It left me breathless, and my head almost exploded, because it was most likely part of a vast right wing conspiracy involving the Police, the Coonertys and Mike Rotkin. Certainly, this is the only explanation I could come up with that covered all the facts.

I'm glad you're okay, Ray. Thank goodness. That was a close one.
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