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Staff report

The Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano was indefinitely postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the event gears up to return in 2022, a different sort of virus will still cause some changes.

In a marked change from tradition, the parade will not have horses due to an outbreak of the EHV-1 virus when it returns on March 12. The parade will otherwise go on as scheduled, with people and festivities.

“The parade has been known as one of the largest non-motorized equestrian parades in the nation,” parade organizers said in a statement. “This year however, out of an abundance of caution and strictly adhering to all California Department of Food and Agriculture recommendations, for the first time in its 62-year history there will be no equestrian entries in the parade.”

The Swallows Day Parade, though, will allow motor vehicles—a first for the event.

“These include classic, military, and novelty vehicles,” the statement from the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association, which organizes the parade, said. “Many motorized entries have already signed on, and more are coming in. Same marching bands, same festive walking units.”

The EH virus is also known as the equine herpesviruses and has been contracted by almost all horses in the world, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

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