Everybody Loves a Parade

July 4 parade planning volunteers feel rewarded by their efforts.

Each summer, more than 70 floats glide down a stretch of 50th Street for the Edina July 4 Parade. As the intricately designed units move along the parade route, you’ve likely oohed, aahed, waved, and perhaps wondered how they execute it all.

John Swon, Edina’s July 4 Parade chairperson, took on the planning process in 2013. He says the key is community relationships. “From an organizational standpoint, [planning] really comes down to connecting with organizations that almost always participate, reaching out to parade sponsors, connecting with musical performers from the past, and [community members] who allow us to do this every year.”

The Edina Community Foundation is the core of the operation in organizing and funding the parade. The Foundation’s July 4 Parade Committee, headed by Swon, begins planning in January. The group’s solid relationship with the city of Edina, Edina Veterans’ Association, local sponsors, musical and athletic organizations and more allow their team of 15 to 20 volunteers to make it all happen. But more hands on deck are definitely needed, says Swon.

Though some people may think volunteering is work, says Swon, “they don’t realize how enjoyable the process can be. People who choose to volunteer usually come back and say, ‘I didn’t realize it would be this easy and fun!’”