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By Emily Rasmussen

The Fiesta Association announced on Tuesday, March 20 that there will be no shots fired from replica weapons at this year’s Swallows Day Parade, with the exception of a blank shot at the start of the parade by the parade chair.

Leslie and Jim Leone, members of the 1880s reenactment group Spurs and Satin, show off their gun-spinning skills at the 2014 Swallows Day Parade. Photo: File
Leslie and Jim Leone, members of the 1880s reenactment group Spurs and Satin, show off their gun-spinning skills at the 2014 Swallows Day Parade. Photo: File

Fiesta Association President Jim Taylor said the decision was made in light of recent shootings, including most recently a shooting at a Maryland high school on March 20 and the October Las Vegas shooting, in which a few San Juan Capistrano residents are survivors.

“We don’t take any political positions, the Fiesta Association is completely non-political,” Taylor said. “We don’t take a position on any of the issues, but with that said, with a heightened community sense of worry over the situation and the school shootings, we don’t want to add to that.”

The 60th Annual Swallows Day Parade on Saturday, March 24 marks the first time that Spurs & Satin—a San Juan Capistrano entertainment group that includes 1880s history in its acts—in conjunction with the Fiesta Association, has decided to not fire their replica weapons “out of respect for the current turmoil our community is facing,” Taylor said.

The move to not fire blanks is completely voluntary, as the parade has already received a permit to shoot the replica weapons during the parade by the city of San Juan Capistrano. However, upon approval of that permit, the City Council did vote 4-1, with Councilman Derek Reeve opposed, to not allow shots fired on Hoos’Gow Day on Friday, March 23.

“We want to divert attention away from that (issue) and focus on entertaining,” Taylor said. “We want everybody to walk away feeling better than when they arrived. That might not happen, but that’s our goal.”

The Swallows Day Parade originally did not have any shots fired during the parade, but eventually incorporated it into the event, Taylor said, although he does not know when that was. However, within his eight years of being involved with the parade and the Fiesta Association, Taylor said that there have been blank shots fired from replica weapons.

“We hope that this is a temporary situation and soon our communities can come together to find a solution to this problem that has been plaguing our nation,” Taylor said. “In the meantime, Spurs & Satin will continue to set the bar for living history entertainment.”

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