Lake Forest and San Juan Capistrano may be 9 miles apart, but for two months of the year, they are bound together.
Through the love of all things cowboy.
In February and March of every year, the town of San Juan Capistrano celebrates the famous swallows’ return with a long stream of Western events, culminating in the Swallows Day Parade, believed to be the country’s largest non-motorized parade.
One favorite event, Hoosegow Day, city residents and visitors get thrown in jail if not decked out in Western wear.
Well, somebody’s gotta outfit 'em.
Enter Lake Forest’s Boot Barn, a proud sponsor of all things Swallows and the events’ organizers, the Fiesta Association.
“They gotta get their black and white,” said assistant store manager Karen Reed, speaking of the association members’ “uniform.”
The best-sellers are the leather vests, she said.
Every February, the store overstocks on traditional Western clothing, extra hats, Colonel Sander’s bowties and more, said Thomas Huaracha, in charge of inventory for the store. The goods are placed right up front so Swallows celebrants can find them easily.
Between the Swallows events – called La Fiesta de Las Golondrinas in San Juan – to the Stagecoach country music festival in April, Boot Barn keeps busy tying local suburbanites to the past, Huaracha said.
Here are some upcoming events for La Fiesta:
Wednesday, March 20
The Swallows Inn
Friday, March 22
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
All around town
55th Swallows Day Parade & Mercado Street Faire
Saturday, March 23
Parade - starts at 11 a.m. and Mercado - 9a.m. – 5 p.m.