The Popularity of Parades

When we picture a parade, we think of marching bands, dancers, floats, firetrucks and ice cream too.  A parade and an ice cream cone just go together like a hand in a glove. Parades are a popular attraction at many summer festivals across America. They bring communities together and support the local economy.   Here’s a peek at how they got started in our country. 

The History of Parades in America

No one is exactly sure when the first parade was held, but it likely has origins dating back to prehistoric times.  The earliest reference to a parade is found in Spanish cave paintings.  They depicted crowds cheering as hunters triumphantly brought back their prey.  In later years, many parades were held for religious and military purposes.

Parades in America have taken on many forms over the centuries.  George Washington often held them to boost morale during the Revolutionary War.  Military parades have long been used in America to boost morale or celebrate the end of a conflict.  The most notable are the impromptu celebrations that erupted on August 14th, 1945, which marked the official end of World War ll.  The first significant procession documented in the U.S. took place in Philadelphia on June 21st, 1788. This is the day the Constitution was ratified. 

Modern Day Parades

Parades are a big draw in the United States today.  There are many American parade traditions.

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, held in New York City,  started in 1924.  It’s one of the world’s largest parades and is televised nationally.

Mardi Gras, or Carnival precedes the fasts of lent.  This celebration focuses on parties, balls, costumes, floats and feasts. The custom of throwing candy at parades started in New Orleans in the early 1870’s.  The King of the Mardis Gras parade tossed small treats from his float. 

California’s Rose Bowl parade is held annually on New Year’s Day in Pasadena.  A local realtor thought this one up as a way to show off his community during a real estate slump.  The first parades featured horses and roses.  The floats today are covered in all types of flowers. 

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with parades in many large cities. The annual celebration in Boston is the largest in the world dedicated to one nationality.  Today, people of all backgrounds attend the parades wearing green clothing. The day is symbolized with shamrocks.

The national Pride Day parade in Washington, D.C. is one of the most popular in America today.  Floats, music, and dancing are featured in Pride Day parades in major cities with large L.G.B.T populations.  This parade tradition is held on the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City.

Many parades are held across America during Fourth of July celebrations.  They honor the history of our country, highlight local communities, and feature streamers, flags, marching bands and more. 

Economic Benefits of Parades

Special events can have a significant impact on local economies.  Parades, fairs and festivals attract visitors and generate interest in tourism and local businesses. These events have the potential to pump millions of dollars into a community. Residents and visitors alike spend money on food, ice cream and beverages, shopping, recreation, lodging and transportation. 

Treat Yourself Today

If you want an ice cream treat or are celebrating a special occasion, Norwood Ice Cream is here to serve you!   We are a small ice cream shop, located in Eldersburg, Maryland.  Each unique ice cream flavor is handcrafted in small batches right in our store.  We caterweddings, parties, special celebrations, corporate events and more.  Drop by for a visit, or call us at 410-875-7238 for more information.