The Edina Fourth of July parade has a long history. The first parade included many of the same components as the modern day patriotic celebration such as the Boy Scouts, the police and fire departments, members of the community and even a float that was decorated to honor early businesses in Edina. Although that parade was a success, it was not until 1988, Edina’s centennial year, that the parade officially became an annual event. Flash-forward to present day and the parade is one of most anticipated events of the summer season.
The parade is seemingly effortless in the way it flows throughout the day. But, what spectators don’t see is all of the work going on behind the scenes to ensure the parade is special for everyone.
Leslie Grothe, co-chair of the planning committee along with Tom Gump, work with the committee of 12 to plan the entire parade. “The parade is always in the back of our minds all year long,” Grothe says.
This planning committee is crucial for the parade’s success, but they wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything without the fundraising carried out by the staff of the Edina Community Foundation.
“These people and businesses invest in our parade and community spirit, so that the rest of us are able to enjoy a wonderful gathering on the Fourth,” Grothe says.
After working diligently to make sure everything is in place for the day of the parade, Grothe likes to soak in the energy the morning of, before anything has actually started. Knowing she has put so much time into planning, finally seeing it all come together is exhilarating.
“There’s so much excitement and energy from the planners, participants and spectators,” says Grothe.
Another large aspect of the planning is finding volunteers to work during the parade. Carolyn Jackson is the volunteer coordinator in charge of making sure the volunteers are all prepared to carry out their assigned jobs. These volunteers perform roles such as carrying banners, helping participants line up, providing security and promoting safety along the route.
Being a part of the Edina community and witnessing members come together to share this experience is something Jackson never takes for granted. She has a great love for parades in general, but the most special parts of this parade for her are seeing how many people attend the event and the veterans’ involvement.
“The parade is preceded by a supper for veterans in our community. Then, the next morning they gather to march or ride in military vehicles. I really enjoyed the logistics and thoughtfulness of planning that part of the parade,” Jackson says.
For Jackson, this parade is so important not only for her personally, but Edina as a whole. She has observed that other Fourth of July parades advertise too much and fail to acknowledge the people in the community. Edina still allows groups such as bands and children’s sports teams to participate, which ensures all of the unique people, businesses and organizations are properly showcased. The parade brings everyone together to share stories, make memories and celebrate Edina.
“One of the challenges of finding volunteers is that so many people march in the parade that it’s hard to find people not already involved! The richness of this event, which goes from the veteran’s supper until the fireworks the next evening, really highlights our community,” Jackson says.
Edina July Fourth Parade
July 4, 2019
Thursday, 10 am