Parades are a community gathering where units march along a designated route to the watchful eye of spectators. Parades are organized for a variety of reasons including to celebrate athletic championship victories, holidays, school events, festivals and grand openings of major businesses. Many have become annual events due to their popularity. Though parades only last a few hours a day, it requires weeks and sometimes months and years of advance planning to organize a successful event.
Complete all required paperwork and guidelines. Contact local authorities to receive the proper permits or clearance to hold a parade. Other responsibilities parade organizers may have include security and clean up. Ask local officials for further information or guidance on these and other possible issues to ensure you are in compliance with all regulations.
Set a date. Parades are held all year, primarily on the weekends. Select a date where there are not a lot of competing activities taking place. You want to establish a track record of good attendance should you decide to hold the parade on an annual basis.
Set rates for entry fees. To help cover the operation expenses, many organizers charge a fee for marching units to participate in the event. An exception is generally granted for public schools and government groups.
Hold a competition. One way to encourage groups to enter a parade is to make it a competitive event. Towards the end, though not the very end, of the parade route, set up a viewing stand with seating for dignitaries, invited guests and a panel of judges. Award prizes, such as trophies, to the best marching band, drum major and float, respectively. A judged event may generate more participation, media attention and public interest.
Decide what type of units to extend an invitation to. Floats, marching bands and equestrian units are staples of parades. Other ideas for units include dancers, musical groups, beauty queens and clowns and cyclists. A grand marshal is usually an honored guest who leads the parade. Use a car cover to prevent the vehicle the grand marshal is to ride in from getting dirty prior to the start of the parade. Further, make a list of the specific types of units you want to exclude from the event to avoid potential misunderstandings. A list of rules and regulations for the marching units to abide by should be provided to the marching units well in advance.