For more than five decades, San Juan Capistrano has celebrated the legendary migration of the cliff swallows from Argentina each spring with annual events and festivities, including one of the nation’s largest non-motorized parades.
This year marks the 58th annual Swallows Day Parade taking place in downtown San Juan Capistrano—a two-hour spectacle filled with an array of floats, participants on foot, horses and marching bands.
The parade takes place from 11 a.m. to about 1 p.m. The route begins at El Camino Real and Ortega Highway and proceeds south on Del Obispo Street to Camino Capistrano, then north on Camino Capistrano to La Zanja Street.
The Mercado runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features an array of vendors including food, drinks, entertainment and a kid-friendly fun zone at the Historic Town Center Park, located at 31852 El Camino Real.
Parking for parade participants and spectators is prohibited along the parade route, with no vehicle access between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Some road closures downtown will begin as early as 6 a.m. and most will be in effect by 10 a.m. For a full map and timeline of closures, visit www.sanjuancapistrano.org.
Free shuttle service is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fluidmaster, located at 30800 Rancho Viejo Road, and at the Capistrano Business Plaza, located at 30250 Rancho Viejo Road on the east side of Interstate 5 (use the Junipero Serra exit). The shuttle will drop visitors off at the Old Fire Station complex on the corner of El Horno and La Matanza, leaving a short walk into downtown.
Check out the official 2016 Fiesta de las Golondrinas guide below for tips on navigating your way through this year’s many events, including the parade and the annual Mercado Street Faire. And don’t forget to pencil in the Wild West-themed festivities leading up to the big day!