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Monterey County Veterans Day Parade
Mission Statement

The purposes of the Corporation are educational, recreational, and philanthropic: specifically, to promote the social health, and well-being of the Veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States of America; and recognize their service to the Country. This will be accomplished through the organizing and conducting of a community event in the form of an annual parade to be held on Veterans Day, in Salinas California, and by seeking sponsorship and donations to defray cost and by engaging in other lawful activities as will contribute to the forgoing purposes. 


I can remember that afternoon like it was today… in 2010.
Phil Orozco (USMC) Veteran and I Tony Virrueta (Army) Veteran sat on the steps of the Steinbeck Center in Salinas and looked up Main Street. We both agreed that there was no (real) recognition for all the generations of Veterans that were in Monterey County. We had the crazy idea of having a Veterans parade on Veterans Day. Every project, event, anything, starts with an idea. What motivated Phil and I were all the people who doubted we could actually pull it off.
So… we started planning and WOW did we have a learning curve. Permits, insurance, applications, Fire, Police, raising money to pay for this all, we had to learn fast. We did it, and our first year it rained (liquid sunshine), yet it didn’t stop anyone. High School bands were practicing in the large, covered parking lot off of Lincoln Avenue and the noise of them all was deafening, but awesome. 
Our first parade rolled down Main Street in the rain and there were about 5 thousand patriotic people cheering us on, nice and wet. We had about 34 participants marching or driving down Main Street proudly. We honestly didn’t know what we tapped into as every year we grew in popularity and attendance. Veterans, service members, and their families came out by the thousands. 
Fast forward to last year’s parade in 2022 and we have grown to over 25 thousand spectators and over 150 participants. Our parade now is expected and with an amazing parade committee who truly love what they work hard for we do it every year. The Committee consists of DEDICATED Veterans, families of Veterans and folks who are willing to roll up their sleeves for anything necessary to help our parade. Raising funds to pay for our parade so no one ever who wants to participate has to spend a penny is truly a (labor of love). 
Some of our Veterans have since passed, yet we know they felt honored every year.
It is an honor to be a part (to me) the best Committee ever!
Stay tuned for our 13th Annual in November. Rain or shine we are going down Main Street honoring all those who served, serving, their families and especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation.
Tony Virrueta
US Army Ranger
Parade Chairman

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