The Fourth of July parade will step off at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 4 and will travel 2.4 miles. The parade route starts on Main St. from Goold St. to 14th St., then will turn right on 16th St. and end near the Golden Rondelle. Prior to the parade starting, a pre-parade will kick off at 8:45 a.m. along the same route, which will feature police, fire engines, old cars and motorcycles.
“It’s a crowd favorite because it’s loud,” Maack said. “And because it signals the start of the parade.”
My 24 WCGV will be filming and broadcasting the parade live and will be staging near Johnson Bank. Festival Foods is a major sponsor of the parade. Boucher Automotive Group is presenting the lakefront fireworks, which begins at dusk on July 4.
This year the theme of the parade is: Welcome Home, Maack said.
“We are welcoming people back to Racine whether if it’s just to return for the holidays or welcoming them back from deployments,” he said. “It’s a broad theme that has many different meanings.”
A subcommittee of the Fourth Fest Parade Committee meets monthly throughout the year to look for ways to improve the parade, Maack said.
Over 120 units entered in the parade, including the old favorites — the Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps and Iwo Jima float — and new float entries — the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the University of Wisconsin Badger Band.
“We don’t want things to get old, but we’re always looking to bring in something different,” Maack said. “In the old days there were a lot of corporate floats, but we just don’t see that as much. But we are seeing more agencies sponsoring floats, smaller groups and families building floats.”
But one float will be a little less festive… that’s the calliope float that Jerry Buck, who was known as Mr. Fourth Fest, used to play. Buck died in March. The parade will feature the float, but no one will be playing the calliope.
“It might be on auto pilot,” Maack said. “The chair is going sit empty.”