RACINE – The Racine 4th Fest Parade will look slightly different for 2021, but the tradition will carry on, organizers said Wednesday.

Carrying the theme “United We Stand,” the parade is planned to step off at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 5. The date follows a long-standing agreement that when July 4 falls on a Sunday, the community observance takes place on Monday.

Representatives of 4th Fest of Greater Racine Inc. (the nonprofit organization that stages the Independence Day parade and celebration), the City of Racine Public Health Department, and the office of Mayor Cory Mason agreed that the parade can take place while recognizing that the community is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the health and safety measures to be taken are:

  • All parade participants will be required to wear face masks.
  • The organizers will cut the number of parade units roughly in half.
  • They will also make the 2.6-mile parade route slightly longer to provide more overall space to encourage social distancing by spectators.
  • Spectators will be encouraged to attend the parade with their own household members.
  • Parade spectators are reminded to wear masks when around people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Find a vaccine location here.

Applications for parade participants are now being accepted. Participants can download the application form from the 4th Fest website’s home page (http://www.racine4thfest.org/). The deadline is June 4.

4th Fest Parade Size, Route Considerations

Anna Clementi, the event’s public relations chair, said organizers had not set a specific number of units for the 2021 march. However, the parade typically has about 100 to 110 units, including bands, floats, walkers, vehicles, etc.

“We’re guessing around 50 (parade units), but we’ll have to see what comes in,” she said. “We’ve already heard from some who definitely want to be back and others who would prefer to sit out this time. So I’d say we’ll be going for quality over quantity.”

The parade route will remain roughly the same as it has for decades, running south along Main Street through Downtown before turning west on 14th Street. However, Clementi said that to accommodate the need for more spectator space, the parade may start a block or two north of Main and Goold streets (near the Racine Zoo). Also, it may end a block or two west of 14th and Howe streets (near the SC Johnson headquarters complex).

Public Support Appreciated

“We thank the 4th Fest for their partnership with the City in modifying the parade in a way that recognizes the pandemic is not over, but still allows our residents to enjoy this very important Racine tradition,” Mayor Mason said in a news release. “I am excited for the City to host the parade again, but we need everyone to enjoy the parade responsibly for the health of the community. The safest way to enjoy the parade is to get vaccinated.”

The 4th Fest board plans to provide a live stream of the parade via its website and social media. Details will be announced in a few weeks.

“4th Fest is also working hard at fundraising efforts as it is a private, nonprofit organization funded through the generosity of individual and corporate donations. Any amount of support is appreciated, and donations are always welcomed through our website,” 4th Fest organizers stated.

Next Steps

Permits for the 4th Fest Parade and a fireworks show (held the evening of July 5) are pending approval by the Racine Common Council’s Public Works and Safety Committee and the full Common Council. The committee is expected to review the request on May 25. The Common Council is scheduled to act on the request on June 1.


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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...