Sixteen years ago, Dick Crockett, the executive director of the Edina Community Foundation, brought his granddaughter with him to Edina’s Fourth of July Parade. Resting her on top of his shoulders, she waited with anticipation of what was to come. Feeling the deep bass of the drums from a distance and listening to the cheering voices of parade goers, he heard her soft voice say, “Maybe it’s a birthday party.” In fact, it was a birthday party—a birthday party for the country.
Bringing generations together, Edina’s Fourth of July Parade is more than just a stroll through the city. It’s a way of bringing people together to strengthen and celebrate the community.
“There isn’t a better way to celebrate our community than bringing together 1,000 parade participants and over 10,000 parade observers,” says Patty Dronen, the co-chair of this year’s parade team. “Bringing together the variety of groups that we do—from school and church groups to marching bands to costumed characters to political candidates and sports teams—exemplifies [our] strong commitment to all things Edina.”
“The last couple years have proven that no matter what is sent our way, the community can come together to celebrate,” Dronen says.
Historically, Edina used to hold a Memorial Day parade rather than an Independence Day parade. Unintentionally established in 1988, the city put on a Fourth of July parade as a part of the Edina centennial commemoration. Recognizing how amazing the event was, city council members decided to make it a regular holiday event in subsequent years.
The first parade was held on Wilson Road—the street connecting the community center to the former Perkins restaurant. And who was in the parade? “It was community groups; kids on bicycles, tricycles and wagons; and it was the community just getting out and having fun,” says Mary Brindle, a member of the parade planning team, who has been involved with the committee since its inception. Today, the parade’s route runs from City Hall all the way to 50th and France.
Brindle loves to watch the anticipation grow. Every year, an array of towels, picnic blankets and lawn chairs line the curbs and lawns of the community days before it even starts. “That is the ultimate compliment: that people are so excited that they are going to get out there days before the parade,” Brindle says.
Come the big day, Brindle says it is also gratifying to see how many people show up for the event, both on the sidelines and as a part of the show. There are nearly 1,000 participants, between the grand marshals, veterans, community officials, sports teams, organizations and entertainment bands alone. Plus, the entire parade team is made up of volunteers. However, “the people of the sidelines are a reflection of the people in the parade,” Brindle says. “They are the community; they are the cheerleaders.”
“We have a mission [at the Edina Community Foundation] of bringing people together to serve, strengthen and celebrate the community, and this parade touches all of those bases,” Crockett says.
2022 Edina 4th of July Parade
10 a.m.–12 p.m. 50th St. S., from City Hall to Halifax Avenue