A huge group of drummers and percussionists march along Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz during the New Year's Eve parade.
By JENNIE TEZAK
OF THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN
SANTA CRUZ Pacific Avenue was filled with musicians, unicyclists, fire jugglers, Santa Clauses on bicycles, a stilt walker and even a fake Dick Cheney Sunday night as hundreds of mostly Santa Cruz residents celebrated the final hours of 2006.
Before the parade, 150 Last Night Santa Cruz Do It Yourself Parade members gathered in the parking lot behind the Saturn Cafι on Spruce Street. The Last Night DIY Parade was formed after First Night Santa Cruz was canceled due to a lack of funding. Members of the community then decided to form their own celebration.
Nicholas Tsugaciae, who was visiting Santa Cruz from Colorado Springs, prepared to beat on a 55-gallon barrel drum in the Last Night trash orchestra, a band with members playing tunes on instruments fashioned from wash tubs, cow bells, trash can lids, plastic Easter eggs, bracelets made from animal toenails and even a washing machine, as well as real drums.
We dont need expensive instruments to create good vibrations, Tsugaciae said. Music heals humans. Hopefully we will be heard around the world.
Dennis Davie, a graduate of University of California at Santa Cruz, dressed as a giant banana slug and helped direct traffic as the parade began.
I just think banana slugs are underrepresented, he said. We need to get out more.
Whitney Wilde, a member of the Last Night DIY committee, celebrated in a red skirt, short plaid jacket and red New Years hat and bra made out of stainless steel salad bowls with flashing lights to represent nipples. Wilde was pleased with the turnout.
Im way thrilled, Wilde said. And its not set to go until sunset. Im amazed. I love Santa Cruz.
As Wilde spied a small group of children joining the crowd, she got teary eyed.
Thats what I wanted, kids and family, she said.
Artist Sean Monaghan rode with his wife, Barbara Jirsa, in a wave bike crafted from white sports jersey material and shaped like a giant moon attached to four bicycles and draped in lights.
I live in Santa Cruz just two blocks from the ocean, Monaghan said. I wanted to make a big cresting wave.
Draped in a rainbow dress and earrings and waving a red umbrella and feather duster, family therapist Vickie Assonto prepared to march in the parade.
I love to see peoples reaction to rainbows, Assonto said. I believe in enjoying life in a safe, healthy way. People need to lighten up and have a good time.
Santa Cruz resident Scott Gray wore an entirely black outfit and sported signs on his back and chest that displayed a variety of events that occurred in 2006, such as Mel Gibsons drunken, anti-Semitic tirade during his DUI arrest and the terrorist plot that resulted in liquids being banned from airlines.
Its not a political statement, Gray said. Its all negative stuff and Im saying goodbye to it.
Grays friend Wendy Ridgway waved a stick with a skull attached to it as she marched with Gray.
Im wiping away the old and blessing in the new, she said about the stick.
Sandino Gomez added to the festivities by staggering around dressed in a suit and a smiling Vice President Dick Cheney mask and waving a Tequila Blanco bottle. He rode in the parade in a taxi and popped out of a moon roof while dancing and screaming at parade watchers. He waved a sign that had a W crossed out on one side and a negative message aimed at Democrats on the other.
Im riding in my motorcade, Gomez said about the taxi.
When the parade stopped Gomez draped himself in an American flag with symbols such as NBC, ABC, Pepsi and IBM and continued to stagger about.
Kyle Snyder and three friends stood on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street from 3 p.m. on and held signs reading Free Hugs. They hugged any passersby that desired a hug. Snyder said he thought he and his friends had hugged about 400 people by 6:20 p.m.
Everyone needs a hug, he said.
Monterey resident Mary Jeanne Vincent watched the parade with friends on the sidewalk.
I came here for this because its so special, Vincent said. I liked the beat of the music.
Santa Cruz Police Department Deputy Kevin Vogel manned a post at the top of Pacific Avenue with other officers. About 6:45 p.m. Vogel said the night was relatively uneventful and expected the rest of the night to be the same.
New Years Eve has been calm the last couple of years, Vogel said. It has taken a backseat to Halloween. Were expecting it to be a peaceful evening downtown.
Around 11:45 p.m. people set to celebrate the New Year gathered at the Santa Cruz town clock and counted down to midnight with fireworks, lights and a disc jockey playing music.
*Photo by Tarmo Hannula*
(Published in 1/2/07 edition)
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