How to Organize a Parade

Learning how to organize a parade requires more than simply lining up entries along the route. With planning and organization, a parade can build the crowd's spirit and center its focus on the activity. Consider implementing these guidelines to organize a parade.

The Planning Stages
Is the parade part of an annual celebration? Is it held in someone's honor? Once you understand the purpose, start general planning. If the parade is based on a theme, you'll need to devise a variation for this year's parade. After a theme is established, advertise and promote the parade. Local newspapers and broadcast media may help spread the word. Set a deadline for parade entries and explain guidelines.

  • Rules are a necessity for safety and liability issues. Obtain necessary permits from law or fire officials. Basic guidelines to share with participants include:
  • Entries need a sign or banner indicating affiliations.
  • Float dimensions or regulations and guidelines for entries that walk or drive a vehicle should be included.
  • Candy or treat policy. Can items be tossed from the vehicle or should someone walk and pass out treats or information?
  • Fire extinguishers are mandatory on each float.
  • Drivers must be licensed drivers.
  • Animal entries must provide their own clean-up crew.
  • Alcoholic beverage policy. Due to insurance regulations, alcohol is prohibited.
  • A map of the parade route.

Registration Forms
Prepare a guideline sheet for parties interested in participating in the parade. The registration form lists basic contact information, including name, address, and telephone number. Add an area for a description of the entry and names of people riding the float or entry. This description gives publicity information for news releases and to the parade announcer.

Staging time for the parade will depend on the number of entries. Begin lining up in the staging area approximately an hour to one and one-half hours prior to the start time.

Liability concerns continue to mount for parade organizers. Protect yourself and the sponsoring organization by requiring a certificate of liability insurance. Also have participants sign a hold harmless agreement.

Once registration forms arrive, set the order for the parade. This is important so you have a variety of entries along the route at all times. Assign an entry number to every entry. This speeds up staging on parade day.

Parade Time
Managing the staging area is important for a smooth transition to the parade route. Give each entry a tag with its staging number and have them line up. It helps to mark off sections so people can get in line even if lower-numbered entries are late in arriving.

Ask someone to assist directing the traffic flow from staging to the parade route. A three car-length space between entries is necessary for safety precautions. You will also need to have a parade announcer who will broadcast pertinent information about each entry. And lastly, have a good group to assist with clean-up detail.

Organizing a parade requires planning. Establish guidelines and promote the event early. Then, watch parade-goers enjoy the festivities.

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