Parade Marching 101

Summer in Lake County

Have you ever wanted to march in a parade and didn’t know how? Here is a basic outline that will help you overcome the first-time-marching fear.

How to March in a Parade

Make Plans

Answer these questions for yourself to help you get focused:

  • Why are you marching?
  • What are you wearing?
  • What is the theme?
  • Who is coming?
  • And most important: what is your adult:kid ratio?
how to march in a parade
© CJ. Keegan | Little Lake County.com | 2015

Order Supplies

We ordered a banner and asked for a loop to be added to the top. I went to a home improvement store and bought PVC piping for under $4.  For our first time, we didn’t over-commit, and that was the only supplies we needed.

Are you advertising something? Bring plenty of pamphlets along to pass out during the parade. Do you have a float to decorate? Make sure you get plenty of decorations and plan a day to assemble everything with some volunteers. Are you passing something out, candy? Necklaces? Ensure they meet parade rules and teach your walkers to toss gently to the ground in front of the viewers, not at the parade viewers.

how to march in a parade
© CJ. Keegan | Little Lake County.com | 2015

Fill out application

You can find most applications on the organizations’ website. If there is a fee and you are a non-profit organization, ask if the fee can be waived as most villages/cities will be happy to.

Send a reminder email a few weeks before and the day before (here is an example):

Please join MBSA as we march in the Mundelein Community Days Parade Sunday, July 6th at 2 pm to celebrate a great season.

**wear your team jersey and team hat

Please bring a parent or other responsible adult if you’re 10 and under. By participating you agree to follow the rules posted on the Village of Mundelein website regarding parade safety (MCD Parade Rules and Safety Guidelines Document).

Marchers need to meet for formation at 1 pm (Prospect and McKinley Ave). Pick up your children promptly at the end of the parade in the Mundelein High School parking lot if you choose not to march with them. The parade begins at 2 pm.

Optional: Please Bring the candy you’d like to pass out while you walk in the parade, please wear sunscreen and bring a water bottle.

TIP: we reused our Easter baskets and carried those along the route to hold the candy we were passing out.

Don’t Forget

Dress for the weather! Sunscreen or rain poncho: be smart and have the supplies you need. If you have a wagon, you might want to bring that along for extra candy supplies and a cooler of water bottles.

Don’t RSVP

Plans change; I wouldn’t worry about keeping an exact count of who is coming and who can’t make it. This sounds more like a headache than a help. I’d skip this step!

Plan an Exit Strategy

Ensure you clearly communicate where the parade ends and that parents will need to pick up their child(ren) expeditiously.

March and Enjoy

There is nothing quite like the sounds of marching bands, fire engines, and crowds to get you excited. Sit back and enjoy all of your hard work. Wave to your adoring fans.

Lessons Learned from Marching in our First Parade

It’s harder to look organized than you might think. We had kids all over the place, in front of the banner, off talking to their friends on the side, and speeding up ahead of our pickup truck. I had a quick instructional talk with everyone before we began marching. Still, next time, I’ll spend even more time discussing expectations to try and present our group in a more organized fashion.

What’s Next?

We had a blast, and I’m contemplating signing up for the High School Homecoming parade in the fall.   The second parade won’t cost us a penny in decorations. We’ll reuse everything! Where are you marching? We’d love to come and watch!


Cheryl is an aspiring writer from Mundelein. You can now follow her on her author journey on Amazon.

Get a copy of her first book, Letter’s to my Children, available on Kindle now.

Parade Marching 101
About Cheryl 48 Articles
Cheryl is a hyper-tasking mom (because who has time to only multi-task?) who stops to take pictures (and smell the roses), loves to jog (slowly) and volunteers way too much.

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