Parade Marching 101

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.

© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2014

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?
© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2014

Order Supplies

We ordered a banner and asked for a loop to be added to the top. I went to home dept 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? Make sure the meet parade rules and teach your walkers to toss gently to the ground in front of the viewers, not at the parade viewers.

Parade Line-up Sign
© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2014


Fill out application

Most applications can be found 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 2pm 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 1pm (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 2pm.

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.

Parade Candy
© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2014


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

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

Jolly Ranchers
© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2014


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.

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

© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2014


Lessons Learned

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 pick up truck. I had a quick instructional talk with everyone before we began marching, but next time I think I’ll spend even more time discussing expectations to try and present our group in a more organized fashion.

MBSA Marching
© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2014


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!

Will you be marching in a Memorial Day parade? Share your tips below and watch for our Memorial Day Parade round-up!

About Cheryl 56 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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