Monday is July 4 and our nation’s celebration of independence. And in Alameda, that means a day to head downtown to view the longest Independence Day parade in the U.S.
Stretching from Park Street to Webster Street, the Alameda parade boasts over 170 “floats” and 2,500 participants that travel a 3.3 mile route. Many local businesses, schools, and organizations participate in the parade. Entries include a large variety of hand-decorated flatbed trucks, antique cars, dance troupes, military veterans, color guards, marching bands, cheer leading squads, baton twirlers, horses, bicyclists, and musicians.
With so much to see, where is the best place to view the parade?
The answer is simple: Park Street, between Lincoln and San Jose.
The parade begins at the corner of Park Street and Lincoln Avenue, extending down the length of Park Street to Otis Drive. Parade entrants start off one-after-another creating high energy along the way. Performances tend to be best in front of the Judging Stand located at intersection of Alameda Avenue and Park Street. But by the time the parade gets past Otis Drive, the entrants are all spread out with lots of space in between. So if you want to get to that afternoon BBQ earlier, you’ll want to watch the parade from Park Street.
There is an old-time charm and feel to the parade on Park Street that finds many families returning to the same spot each year. With an outpouring of community spirit, many of the spectators arrive in the historic Park Street District decked in red, white, and blue and waving American flags. Friends, neighbors, and total strangers line the sidewalks cheering the participants and striking up conversations with other by-standers. So if you want to have a fun and lively time, you’ll want to watch the parade from Park Street.
The Park Street Business District boasts a number of coffee houses, bagel shops, ice cream parlors, breakfast places, lunch places, dinner places, gift stores, book stores, clothing stores, children’s stores, antique stores, and other services. So if you want to “Shop Park Street,” you can create your own parade along Park Street.
Take note: Drawing over 20,000 people from Alameda and throughout the Bay Area, lots of people search out spots along the coveted stretches of Park Street so, for that optimal viewing experience, you’ll want to arrive before 10:00am to nab your spot.
See you on Park Street!