Many towns across the country have parades on the 4th of July to celebrate Independence Day. Some parades are kind of short, with just a few floats, classic cars, and maybe a band or two. Others are rather long and include fire engines, clowns, baton twirler groups, and much more. Regardless of the length of your hometown parade, though, there are some important guidelines to remember for things you should and should not bring along with you.
Let’s start with the things that you should not bring:
Yes, many people want to bring the entire family to the parade. But, it simply is not a good idea to bring very young babies for a couple of reasons: the sun and the noise. Babies who are very young should not be out in the sun for long periods of time, and it can be next to impossible to find a shady area in which to sit at a parade. And the noise of a parade can be bothersome to a baby as well–especially if your parade includes loud sirens from police cars and fire engines.
Every time I go to our hometown parade I see at least a few people with dogs, and it always astounds me that they would subject their dogs to the intense noise of the parade. Canines have incredibly sensitive ears, and if your parade has sirens or other types of really loud noise (such as loudspeakers or megaphones), these things will hurt your dog’s ears. And besides that, some people are afraid of dogs, even if your dog is the most gentle one in the world, some people may still be afraid. So, just leave Fido at home, ok?
Sparklers are fun for kids, but they have their place and it is not at the parade. Why? Well, it just isn’t safe. It doesn’t matter how careful you and your children are, stray sparks from the sparklers could fly off and land on something or someone else. At parades there usually isn’t a lot of room to spread out because there is such a huge crowd, so your kids will not have room to safely flash their sparklers around. Save the sparklers for later on in the day at home.
So, what should you bring? Here are some of the most important items to remember:
You are going to want to get to the parade route early enough to find a good spot for your family to view the parade. Are you going to want to stand for the entire time you are waiting for the parade to begin as well as during the parade? And do you think your kids will want to stand for that long? Not likely. Make sure to bring some kind of seating. This can be as simple as a blanket or a few towels to place on the ground, or you can bring a few folding lawn chairs.
Snacks and drinks
Other families will have food and drinks, and your kids will see this and be hungry and thirsty. Be prepared for this and bring your own cooler or bag with some munchies and beverages.
Even if your hometown parade is rather short, you and your kids will be out in the sun for quite awhile. Make sure you apply some sunscreen before you leave the house, of course, but be sure to bring some along as well so that you can reapply it as needed. You sure don’t want anyone to come home with a sunburn!
Everyone in the family, even the kids, needs to have a good pair of UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses. These are just as essential as sunscreen because they protect they eyes. Make sure that the kids keep theirs handy by getting them sunglass lanyards to wear around their necks
Something to keep the kids occupied
Since you probably arrived early to the parade route, you are likely in for quite a wait for the parade to begin. After getting settled, the kids are likely to get bored with the waiting, so make sure to bring along something to keep them busy: playing cards, a simple board game, handheld video games, Mad Libs books, a book to read, whatever your kids like.
So there you have it: leave your little baby with a sitter, keep Fido at home, and save the sparklers for the evening later on. Make sure you bring the necessary items to the parade, and you and your family will be sure to have a fun time.