Winter is fast approaching along with holiday festivities in your area. Towns across the country welcome the joyous season by planning events like holiday parades. Many community parades have been must-go events for generations.
Parades not only celebrate holidays but also spotlight local organizations that support the community all year. Local scouts, dance groups, and school bands also have the opportunity to impress you with their skills and enthusiasm. There’s a good chance you may even know someone marching or performing in the parade – cheer them on!
A Family & Friends Event
Invite family and friends to attend a holiday parade that will dazzle both young and old – the more the merrier! Many extended families make holiday parades a traditional event. Even if you’re an experienced parade-goer, you can renew that excitement through your little one’s squeals of glee.
Watch the delight on their faces when they spot Santa and his reindeer on a floating winter wonderland. Kids also love the tossed candy and trinkets thrown their way.
Get There Early
Unless you have a front porch on the parade route (and refreshments and bathrooms at the ready) allow extra time to get there early. Arriving ahead of the crowds lets you select parking close to your ideal viewing spot on the parade route. It’s also beneficial if you park where it’s easy to exit early if needed.
Once you’ve parked, find your perfect seating location in the very front where your children can see the parade. Claim your spot by setting out your folding chairs and placing a blanket on the ground to help “define” your area. Hopefully, other parade-goers will respect your space and not try to squeeze in front of your kids.
Make sure your viewing spot is near a bathroom since someone will eventually need to go.
Keep Kids Occupied While Waiting
Arriving early can be tricky with little ones. Plan an activity or two to occupy young kids so they don’t get restless while waiting for the parade to start. Some ideas include coloring books, a toy or two, or playing I SPY.
If you expect young kids to sit through the parade, help them burn off energy while waiting for the parade to start. Banish restlessness by dancing in place, strolling along the sidewalk, or taking a bathroom break.
Arriving prepared can minimize stress while watching the parade. Why not stock these items in your backpack:
- snacks and drinks
- restroom Items: toilet paper, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer
- a small blanket for kids to sit on
- earplugs for loud noises like police and firetruck sirens
- cash if you want to buy anything from parade vendors
- an empty bag for loot (candy, trinkets, etc.)
Other helpful resources include:
- Extra adults to help corral the kids or escort one to the bathroom
- Lots of patience and a sense of humor
- A wagon – ever see little ones at a parade sitting in a wagon? Smart idea!
Weather & Safety Considerations
Feel free to dress in holiday-themed costumes and accessories, but be ready for cold, rain, and heat. Bundle up with layers for a chilly day and remove layers if the day warms up. If rain is in the forecast, come ready with rain parkas and umbrellas. Be prepared for daytime or evening comfort while standing still for an hour or two.
Safety is an important consideration when attending a parade. Protect your keys, ID, phone, and similar items in a front pocket to avoid them being stolen. Consider taking a photo of your group (especially kids) before traveling to the parade. The photo will be helpful if a member of your group gets lost in the crowds. In addition, select a specific meeting place at the parade if anyone from your crew gets lost or separated.
Sun safety is also essential for both warm and cold climates if the parade is scheduled during daylight hours. And don’t be fooled by an overcast sky – UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and cause sunburn and skin damage.
Be sure to keep as much skin as possible covered with clothing and slather a high SPF sunscreen on any exposed areas. Wear wide brim hats and UVA/UVB sunglasses to protect the face, eyes, ears, and scalp from UV rays. UV Skinz offers UPF 50+ clothing and accessories for the entire family to help keep you sun-safe while you enjoy the parade.
There’s something special about a community gathering to enjoy and support a holiday cavalcade of floats and vehicles. If you don’t have a parade where you live, check nearby communities for their holiday parade schedule.