Fourth of July Parade Review

The Ann Arbor Jaycees Fourth of July Parade is held each year on July 4th. This was our sixth year participating in the parade. My daughter loves being in the parade and seeing the other participants. A couple of years we have had the fortune to line up on William St where we can see the parade go in front of us and then remained on Thompson to watch the remainder of the parade. This year we were lined up on Maynard so we missed the beginning of the parade, but did backtrack to the route to watch the parade after we reached the end.

This year my daughter and I marched in the parade with her Girl Scout troop and several others from the Ann Arbor area. I brought some candy and stickers for her to distribute, but she volunteered to carry a flag. I saved most of our goodies for Main Street in case my daughter handed her flag off to someone else. My daughter carried the Brownie flag for the entire parade, so once we arrived at Main Street and some of her troop-mates were out of candy, I gave hers to them.

I was shocked by the number of entries in the parade. Girl Scouts were the 49th entry and when we reached the end of the parade route, we could see the groups at the end of the parade just starting to move towards the start of the parade route. We found a spot to watch the remainder of the parade on Thompson and it was after 11:30a before the parade ended. The parade definitely seemed to have more entries than previous years…perhaps because it is an election year and there were a number of political candidates in the parade.

One of our favorite groups was Ring of Steel. As in the past, they were showcasing two fighters on their trailer. When they passed us at the end of the route, Captain America was fighting the Winter Soldier. My daughter was very excited since she loved the Captain America movie. Earlier in the parade route, there were other fighters featured based on photos I saw from other attendees who were in different areas of the route.

My daughter was disappointed that we missed the Super Hero group who was lined up before us in the parade. I was also very disappointed to have missed the replica of the Iwo Jima memorial. From the photographs that I saw, it was quite impressive. My daughter also missed the 501st Legion of Storm Troopers and other Star Wars characters. We were lined up near them last year, but they weren’t participating this year.

We definitely recommend the Ann Arbor Jaycees Fourth of July Parade each year, whether you join a group to march or are a spectator. As a spectator, Main Street is typically the most crowded location followed by State St, although Liberty has become more popular over the years. Thompson is your best bet for a light crowd (and as a plus, your kids won’t receive a lot of candy as most groups are out by that point).

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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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