Today I wanted to share my favorite parades around the world to march in. The criteria I used in making this list includes the prestige of the event, its location, what there is to do after the parade, and the marching experience itself.
Marching Bands have always been a staple of parades, and there is no better way to really show off your program than to perform in front of a sea of people lining the streets all looking for a great time.
Rose Parade at Pasadena, California
This Rose Parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, has hundreds of thousands of spectators along its route and is broadcast on multiple T.V. Stations around the United States! This New Year’s Parade consists of flower-covered floats and, of course, marching bands. The parade also celebrates the Rose Bowl College Football game.
Fun Fact: The football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of the parade.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
This festival is an event that takes place every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in the Windy City of Chicago! The city puts up an estimated one-million lights on 200 trees lining Michigan Avenue. This festival’s parade is a great opportunity for any marching band. The parade has 40 floats with huge balloons and is led by well-known Christmas characters. The parade culminates in the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree.
Fun Fact: This festival started when the stores on Michigan Avenue attempted to outdo one another by competing to have the most store-front lights.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most famous parades in the United States. It also travels through the heart of New York City, making it a great way in which to take in some sights, either before or after marching. This parade is massive, consisting of huge balloons and floats, and live performances of many varieties. This is a really great experience for any marching band.
Fun Fact: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been running since 1924, which ties it with Detroit’s parade for the second oldest Thanksgiving Day parade, the first oldest being Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
New Year’s Day Parade in London
There is no better place to celebrate the New Year than in London. The city’s New Year’s parade brings in about 500,000 spectators each year. The parade route itself is almost like a guided tour through the city of London! The band begins at Parliament square and passes famous sites like Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and more! This is a great parade to which you can bring your marching band and perform on one of the world’s biggest stages.
Fun Fact: The Parade claims to be the biggest New Year’s Day event of its kind.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin Ireland
Drum roll please……
The number one parade on the list is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland!! There is really nowhere else you would want to be than Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day. The parade route has an estimated 500,000 spectators each year and is broadcast on local Irish T.V. and via live internet feed. Therefore, your friends and family can be jealous as they watch you march down streets in the heart of Dublin. The festivities also provide numerous other performance opportunities.
Fun Fact: The parade typically only accepts 10 American Marching Bands.