How to participate
Information regarding the reviewing stand, parade order, parade route and logistics pertain to the traditional in-person Fourth of July event.
PARADE OF HOUSES QUALIFICATION
The Takoma Park Independence Day Committee is pleased to invite you once again to participate in our 132nd Independence Day Celebration to be held on Sunday, July 4, 2021.
Only houses within Takoma Park city limits may qualify to win prizes. However, houses outside of Takoma Park may register so people can know to visit them. Registrations close by July 1. Decorations should be up by July 1.
Who may participate: Our two hour parade is open to participation by all interested individuals and groups, but we reserve the right to exclude any individual or group not complying with the spirit of the celebration such as inappropriate clothing, performance, drinking, drugs or unduly delaying the progress of the parade.
Stopping to Perform at the Reviewing Stand: Please keep in mind that this is a parade, not a queue leading to a stage in front of the reviewing stand. If your group wants to perform, it must keep moving while doing so. Also, you should realize that people all along the parade route want to see your group in action. On the other hand, stopping to perform causes gaps in the parade, which are discourteous to the participants behind you who have to wait and to the spectators who must also wait. Large gaps have in the past caused the spectators to leave, believing the parade had finished, which is totally unfair to the groups who follow. Groups who cause such problems may be prohibited from future participation in the parade.Remember, the judges will be all along the parade route. It is best for you, the judges, the spectators, and especially the other participants behind you if you perform short pieces throughout the parade rather than one long piece at the reviewing stand.
Rain Dates: The fireworks will be held on the first clear evening after the scheduled date. The parade has no rain date because it is impossible to reassemble all the volunteers, participants, spectators and vendors, and to obtain the necessary permits and the assistance of the police and other government departments.
Throwing Candy, etc.: Parade participants are not allowed to throw candy or other things to people viewing the parade. We do not want to encourage kids to run into the parade route where they may be injured. Distribution by people walking along the curb is OK. Distribution of any kind of political literature, fans, balloons, etc. from the parade is not allowed, but is OK if done on the sidewalk ONLY if nowhere near the politician to whom it refers.
Community heroes are individuals who offer their courage, dedication, and strength in the service of our neighborhood. Takoma Park is a community rich in heroes, from the public servants who make our city run, to the individual resident who helps out by shoveling a neighbor's snow. Some residents devote themselves to a career making our world a better place. There are those that volunteer their time to continue building the diverse, progressive, passionate local community we love today. Today we celebrate everyone who makes a difference in Takoma Park.
Featured this year as Grand Marshals are members of Takoma Park's various First Responders which include the Takoma Park Police Department represented by Chief Antonio "Tony" DeVaul, the Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department represented by Chief James Jarboe and the Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Medical Services unit represented by Lieutenant Jorge Alfaro.
Parade entrants, except for dignitaries and paid groups, are eligible to receive cash prizes. Winners will be announced during the Evening Program at the Takoma Park Middle School and posted on the web site. Winners will receive their check via mail after July 4th.
The panel of parade judges consists of a diverse group of Takoma Park residents, business owners, and other individuals affiliated with Takoma Park.
The five judges are spaced along the parade route from the beginning at the intersection of Ethan Allen and Carroll Avenues to the end at Ritchie Avenue. It is necessary to ensure that your group is properly identified and spaced so that the judges will not confuse you with other groups around you. Please leave at least 2-3 car lengths between your group and the one directly in front of you, whether you are moving or stationary.
Children who are carrying a group’s identifying banner should be supervised so that they know not to get too far ahead of their group and to leave enough space between them and the group ahead of them.
Keeping the parade moving at a comfortable pace can be challenging. We often have problems with long gaps in the parade as well as periods of standing still. Much of the latter is due to the length of time groups stop to perform at the reviewing stand. In fairness to everyone, we ask that groups who do not have a song/skit/routine or any other performance to keep moving when they reach the reviewing stand, which is located on Maple Avenue just past the Municipal Building. A Committee member will direct parade traffic through the reviewing stand area to ensure that your group will be captured by the cable tv cameras, and that the parade announcer has plenty of time to read a statement about your group as you pass the stand.
participant refreshment stand
At the end of the parade route (Maple Avenue at Ritchie Avenue) a stand distributes free water to participants in the parade.
The grand marshal is the honorary head of the parade. This is a person (or group) the Committee has selected for their service to the community, a significant achievement, or other noteworthy accomplishment.
elected officials and campaigning
The parade reserves a place of honor in the first division for grand marshals and public officials, in recognition of their dedicated service to our community. Incumbent officials who wish to participate in the parade and be included in Division One must comply with certain restrictions against campaigning, as detailed below:
Participating as a Public Official:
The Committee works very hard to organize a diverse and interesting parade that is enjoyable for spectators and participants alike. As a public official, you are invited because the parade provides an excellent opportunity for you to see many of your constituents and for them to see you. Your immediate family members are welcome to accompany you. As a public official, we have reserved parking for you behind the Takoma Park Library. However, when participating in the parade as an public official, this parade is not intended to be a campaign-related activity.
To that end, we do not allow campaign staff to march in the street with you. They may hand out literature to spectators along the sidewalks away from the street if this can be done unobtrusively. We strongly urge you to refrain from having large numbers of staff wearing matching t-shirts, carrying signs, and chanting campaign slogans as they walk along the sidelines adjacent to the parade. You may have individuals walk ahead of you to carry a banner that identifies you and the office you hold. But this banner may not use the terms "elect", "re-elect", "vote for", or any other term associated with campaigning. (If you do not have your own signage, a sign will be provided to you by the parade organizers when you arrive.)
Adherence to these guidelines will make the parade an enjoyable experience for all and continue the nonpartisan nature of this first division of the parade. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Participating as an Individual Unit:
If you, as a current office-holder, would prefer not to adhere to the restrictions detailed above, you could elect to participate in the parade as an individual unit. If you choose to participate as an individual unit, you will not travel in the first Division at the front of the parade with other dignitaries, but instead be placed in another parade division as determined by the committee. If you choose this option, you may bring your own signage and whatever other materials you choose. You may bring staff with you. However, of these staff, no more than five may accompany you in the actual parade – the remainder will be allowed to walk along the edge of the route on the sidewalk and may distribute whatever materials you choose. If you select this option, you will need to provide your own transportation. As an individual unit, reserved parking is not available. This option is the same as that offered to all candidates for office, regardless of incumbency.
If you have are a Public Official but are not participating as a "Public Official", for example as a candidate or a member of a church or social organization, please make that clear when registering.
These cars are provided by Potomac Classic Thunderbird Club members and individual owners of antique and newer cars who volunteer their time and vehicles to help with the parade and for the pleasure of the viewers.
Dignitaries, other invited guests, and parade car drivers are issued a special pass for entry into the parking lots at the library, Municipal Building and Piney Branch Elementary School. Other participants need to arrive early and find parking near the assembly area for their divisions, or have someone drop off several of the group at the assembly area and then find parking.
The reviewing stand is provided for the dignitaries and invited guests who ride in the parade to watch the parade in the shade.
The parade starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends around 12 noon. It begins at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen Avenues, winds along Carroll Avenue through Old Town Takoma, turns right on Maple Avenue, and ends at the intersection of Maple and Ritchie Avenues.
Please note that the parade does NOT end at the reviewing stand, which is located on Maple Avenue in front of the Piney Branch Elementary School. You should proceed three blocks past the reviewing stand until you reach Ritchie Avenue where we will provide water for all participants, and elderly residents of the Franklin Apartments who are unable to travel easily will be out to see you. Members of the Committee will be stationed along this stretch to remind you to keep going, just in case you forget!
length of parade route
About 1.25 miles.
time to march the parade route
30 to 45 minutes.
The line-up is designed to accommodate as many needs as possible and to spread musical groups throughout the parade with non-musical groups between. As new groups continue to register for the parade, we will place them according to this framework. Fire trucks and certain dignitaries who arrive late to the parade are fed into the line-up as they arrive. Also, some participants may have to cancel at the last minute. Therefore, the line-up as posted on the web site is subject to change. Your division directors will work with you to find the best possible placement for your group at the time of assembly.
All main roads around the parade route will close at 9:00 a.m. We ask that your group arrive at your staging area between 9:00 a.m and 9:30 a.m. In order to reach your staging area, you will need to pass through a police barricade.
A Map of the Parade Staging Area That Shows Where Each Division Gathers.