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Frequently Asked Questions

What day is the 4th of July Parade?
Believe it or not, this is our most frequently asked question. Our celebration always happens on July 4th no matter what day of the week it is.

How long is the parade?
The length of the parade is about 1.25 miles. The time it takes to march the route is 40 Ė 50 minutes. The first unit steps off at 10:00am and the last unit will cross the finish line about 12:30pm.

What does the entries committee look for?
Above all, you must be entertaining! You must be something that people would not see any day on the street. Also, you must be capable of moving down the street at about 2 miles/hour for almost two miles. We also screen out entries that promote any political, religious, social, economic or personal agendas.

How can I put a good entry together?
You are welcome at any parade workshop. This 2 hour workshop is designed to help you put together a great entry, and have fun doing it. They are open to the public, and you are not obligated to enter the parade by taking the workshop. 

Why arenít there more marching bands?
Alas, there are two main reasons. First, most of our school bands do not march in the summer. Second, there are relatively few music programs in our local schools. A marching band needs a tremendous amount of support from parents, faculty, and administration plus good programs in elementary schools to train the musicians to that level. We would love to see more bands; if you know of any that are willing to come please email us.

Why arenít there more floats?
Actually, we have a relatively high number of floats in our parade. The Peninsula Celebration Association will rent float chassis to groups for the parade, and we teach a workshop on how to design and build one. But a group has to be willing to put in the time and effort to make a float. Our parade is only as good as the community that supports it.

Where is the parade route?
The parade starts at Winslow & Marshall at 10:00am and loops around downtown Redwood City. It travels on parts of these streets: Marshall, Main, Middlefield, Broadway and Arguello.

How do I get there and where do I park?
If you can, we advise you not to drive. The best way to get to the parade site is to take Caltrain to the Redwood City station. The parade is literally on the other side of the tracks. You can also take a Samtrans bus down to El Camino to stops between Brewster and Jefferson. Just follow streets east of El Camino to the parade route. If you have to drive, take hwy 101 to either Woodside Road or Whipple Avenue. Go to Veteranís Blvd. and park in the areas west of Marshall St.

Wow! How much does it cost the City of Redwood City to put this on?
Actually, the July 4 Celebration activities are sponsored and totally managed by the Peninsula Celebration Association, a private non-profit volunteer organization. The Peninsula Celebration Association pays for the celebration, including the cost of the prize money in the parade. However, the City of Redwood City does generously support the event with police and fire protection, the use of the city streets, and set up and clean up services provided by Public Works.

This sounds like fun! How can I help?
We can use volunteers all year round, especially in May, June and early July, and we can use up to 40 volunteers on the day of July 4. Call our office for details or see our volunteer page.

Independence Day Trivia

The American flag is made mostly of wool, with cotton stars. The flag was made by Mary Pickersgill and her 13 yr. old daughter, in Baltimore in 1813. Lt. Col. George Armistead ordered it to fly over Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812.

The flag was about 3 stories (30 ft) high and 42 ft long. The flag was so big that no room in the Pickersgill home could fit it, so they took it to a local brewery where it could be stretched out.

Our flag is no longer hanging in the Smithsonian Institution, where it has been on display since 1907. For the next 3 years that flag will be undergoing preservation work in a lab specially designed for visitors to watch--at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

In 1914, the Smithsonian tried to preserve the flag. They hand-sewed a linen backing onto it using about 2 million stitches. The backing is wearing out; someday it might not support the flag. The backing can't be pulled out--it will take experts two snips per stitch (2 million stitches) to take it apart. It will take about a year to remove the backing only.

The cost of making the flag was $405.90--the cost of preserving the flag totals about $18 million. Before preservation work began, scientists took special pictures of the flag to tell areas/spots that needed extra care. When the backing is removed, 10 experts will clean the flag using a special vacuum and dry cleaning products. When finished the flag will be place in a climate controlled viewing case.

One reason for the War of 1812 was that the British had been attacking American Ships--they wanted to stop Americans from trading with their enemy, France. The British captured American sailors and forced them to serve in their navy. In 1814, British invaded Washington DC, burning the Capital and White House.

William Beanes, a doctor, organized a posse to jail these British troublemakers, but the British captured him and took them to their ship. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer went aboard to negotiate Beanes release.

Key was held prisoner for 10 days--he wasn't allowed to leave until the British finished bombing Fort McHenry. On Sept. 13, Key watched the British fire 1,800 bombs on the fort. About 2 am the firing stopped, he thought this meant the Americans lost. In fact, the British stopped to secretly land troops, but when this failed they began bombing again at 4 am.
Finally at dawn, Key could see the flag still flying--the Americans hadn't lost!

Key wrote our national anthem on a letter from his pocket after seeing the American flag in the midst of being bombed. He called his song "The Defense of Fort McHenry"-written to a popular British tune. He had written several songs to this tune before. His song was a hit right away and Congress made it our National Anthem in 1931.


If you need more
information on our event
email us at info@parade.org

Building a Bigger and Better Fourth of July Celebration