Patriotic parades (July 4 weekend)

July 1, 2009

My impending 20-year class reunion has me thinking a lot about high school, and one of my absolute favorite activities was marching band. I was terrible at it — I could barely play the clarinet seated and reading music, let alone stepping down the street trying to stay in line and recall the memorized notes all at the same time. But it was so much fun to be in a parade! I hope the 16 marching bands at this year’s Veiled Prophet Parade have the time of their lives.

The bands and 80 or so other units step off at 10 a.m. Saturday (July 4) downtown, heading south on Fourth Street from Washington Avenue and turning west at Market. There are sneak preview videos of the floats on the homepage (under “Media only”), and there’s a nice historic overview video from KETC too.

But as fabulous as the VP Parade and Fair St. Louis are, they’re one of many great options for enjoying Americana this weekend. In fact, one of the hardest decisions of the weekend (aside from when to start the grill!)  will be whether to go downtown or head over to the Webster Groves Community Days parade, also scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday (July 4) and also featuring up to 100 units.  No sneak previews are available, but I can tell you that the Budweiser Clydesdales will be leading the parade. It starts at Lockwood and Selma, heads west to Gore, returns east for a couple of blocks along Big Bend, crosses under Interstate 44 on Elm, and finally ends at the fairgrounds in Memorial Park.

Out in O’Fallon, Mo., the parade starts at 9:30 a.m. on the Fourth, as part of the Heritage and Freedom Festival. The two-mile route starts at Third and Main, continues north along Main to Tom Ginnever Ave., and ends at T.R. Hughes Ballpark.

Whichever parade you attend, clap loudly for the bands and wave at the woodwinds in the back, paying no attention to the music and having a good old time watching you.

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