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Everyone Loves a Parade

By Robyn Anderson

Signs of spring are showing in the Northland. The craving for a glimpse of sunlight to shine through the clouds and kiss our skin, gets stronger as the week goes on. I’m sure each of you can relate and are all experiencing the need to shred some layers and let your freckles shine. Since summer is rounding the corner, it is time to get your calendars ready and coordinate your family’s summer activities!

Summer is the ideal time to enjoy vacations, family time and community involvement. What better way to incorporate all of these elements than a community parade?

You might be asking yourself, how could I coordinate a city parade? Well, like anything it takes confidence, time, event knowledge/experience, and initiative to produce a community event. Below are a few recommendations in order to lessen the disarray and to enhance the overall attraction to the event.

Coordination ~ Overview

    • Choose a theme, time, route and place for spectators
    • Acquire a parade permit from local police
    • Decide on a budget
    • Draft a safety plan
    • Set entry deadline
    • Seek parade sponsors
    • Decipher who can participate
    • Draft up parade guidelines
    • Promote

Who Should Participate?

  • Community Dance Teams (High School, Colleges, Studios)
  • Baton Twirlers
  • Marching Bands
  • Businesses
  • Colleges
  • Public/Private Schools (k-12)
  • Community Organizations
  • Clowns
  • Animals
  • Community Artist/Band
  • Local Performers (Plays)
  • Sports Teams & Mascots

The Lineup

Have a big opening act. Attract your audience from the get-go and make them want more! To keep your viewers interested, be sure to have a variety of participants. With variety it can be easy to forget the importance of lineup, so be sure to separate musical entries and similar acts to keep the flow.

Parade Lineup Sample:

  1. Parade Official
  2. Marching Band: Bring the celebration from the get-go through the sound of cheerful music
  3. Local Company Float
  4. Dance Team
  5. Kindergarten Float
  6. Clowns
  7. Local Sport Team & Mascot
  8. Baton Twirlers
  9. Marching Band
  10. Community Organization Float
  11. Local Performer Skits
  12. Community Artist/Band

This is just a sample of what your local parade lineup could look like. Notice how there is a separation of performers and a variety of
community involvement.

Organization of the Lineup ~ This is KEY!

Parade Order:

This is previously determined, but to ensure that every participant understands, hand out a pamphlet that includes:

  • Diagram of the lineup and route: Label where every participant needs to stand in the lineup
  • Timeline of events: When to arrive, when to be in the lineup, etc.
  • A list of participants: Complete guide of everyone who is participating

Parade Rehearsal:

Designate a mandatory meeting time with one representative from each parade participant group. This will be the time to get the kinks out before the actual performance. It will also ensure that everyone understands what is required of them, meeting times, the lineup and to answer any questions that they might have.

Parades are a great way to bring more exposure to local businesses, organizations, and the community! I hope these tips have given you the courage to take the lead, because with a little strategy and organization, you could successfully coordinate a great kickoff event to summer. So let’s launch this upcoming summer season with a fabulous parade that brings joy and excitement to our local community.