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Happy Independence Day!
I love July 4th. I don’t know if it is because my birthday is close by, or the fireworks, or the foods we eat, or just because I love this country and our rich history. It is in the top 4 of favorite holidays for me.
I have such fond memories of community and celebration around July 4th. And I wanted my family and other families to have fond memories, too. That was when I decided to start a bike parade in our neighborhood.
A July 4th Bike Parade is a simple thing. All you need is permission (from HOA, police, etc.). After you get the go ahead – the date is easy – July 4th no matter where it falls on the calendar. Time? Early like 9am or 10am. Route? Simple, easy through your neighborhood. Just pick a route, because you can always change it next year.
Then get the word out. What a great way to talk to neighbors and the let them know what you are doing. They don’t have to ride a bike or walk, then can sit on their porch and cheer and wave as the parade goes by. Make simple flyers to hand out with all the information about where to meet and what time.
DECORATE: This is easy and fun too. RED, WHITE, AND BLUE! Don’t forget yourself and your bike helmet. Go all out and have some fun. Here is a great blog post from The Seasoned Homemaker with some fun ideas for decorating your “wheels”.
We have a time right before the parade for last minute decorating. I have acquired lots of supplies and freely share. Most people come with stuff or are already decorated. That way no one gets left out. The Dollar Store is great place for picking up supplies. As is any craft store.
And what’s a parade without music?!? Not much of a parade in my not so humble opinion. I have a wonderful JBL Flip portable Bluetooth speaker that I strap in my basket and connect to my ipod. I crank it up and off we go!! It works surprising well for how small it is.
What is on my playlist? I go “old school” with all instrumental pieces and some good ol’ John Philip Susa along with many of the armed forces bands. You can play what you want. That is the beauty of organizing your own parade. Of course depending on how big your route is – you may need more songs or just put the playlist on repeat. I always start with Reveille just for fun and to get everyone in the patriotic mood.
After the parade we all finish at the neighborhood pool where I have already staged a cooler with water bottles, Otter Pops ©, some popcorn and then we pull the strings on some poppers for added fun. (Cleaning up our mess afterwards).
I must confess that Martha Stewart’s website gave me the inspiration for starting a bike parade in my neighborhood. Every year it has expanded with more people participating in it and I have gotten better at hosting it. Adding a little bit every year.
It really isn’t difficult and the memories that it makes will last a lifetime. So, I encourage any of you reading to think about starting something like a bike parade or anything that can help foster community and bring neighbors together.
Time to decorate!