Parma's Fourth Of July Parade Is One Of The City's Biggest Events Of The Year
Throngs of people are expected to line Ridge Road to watch Parma’s annual Fourth of July Parade – one of the city’s biggest events each year. Marching bands, local organizations, and public officials will be part of the more than 1,500 participants who will trek the one-and-a-half mile parade route, which starts at Snow Road and ends at West Ridgewood Drive at The Shoppes at Parma. “It’s a rite of passage for so many of our kids,” Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter said. “I enjoy seeing them run as close as possible to the parade route as they grab as much candy as they can – or their parents allow.” Said DeGeeter: “But perhaps the best aspect of the parade is watching and hearing the bands march down Ridge Road. This is just a great event, and I truly appreciate the community spirit that makes the parade what it is today.”
This year’s parade kicks off at 10 a.m, led by an honor guard from a local veterans group and will feature more than 1,500 participants and at least 75 vehicles as well as floats and three high school marching bands – Valley Forge, Normandy, and Parma Senior. In addition, the Fourth of July Parade marks the launch of the city’s Christmas in July Food Drive as volunteers collect non-perishable food items along the parade route.
Volunteer Parade Director Chris Knebusch is tasked with coordinating the myriad of parade participants. While hectic, Knebusch said he enjoys helping organize what he describes as a "true Parma tradition." “It’s a large draw for everyone – especially for the kids, who just have so much fun,” said Knebusch, who estimates the parade lasts more than an hour. “I would tell kids to have bags ready for the parade.” Knebusch said the parade – which has been a community event for more than 40 years – creates memories that last a lifetime for residents who grew up watching the festivities. “It’s one of the city’s signature events,” he said. “It’s a celebration of our country and of our independence, but also of our community. That’s what helps make this event special for so many of us.”