News & Events
Edina’s 4th of July Parade
Families have their favorite spots, where they sit every year. The blankets and lawn chairs that stake out territory begin appearing a full 24 hours before the start. By 8:00pm on the night before the event, virtually all of the shady spots have been claimed, and lawn chairs stretch down 50th street from City Hall to Halifax.
Edina’s annual 4th of July parade is so much a part of the city’s summer rhythm and identity that it’s easy to assume that the tradition is as old as the city itself. The parade is a relatively new tradition, dating back only to 1988.
1988 was the year of Edina Centennial birthday. The first 4th of July parade was organized as one of Edina’s many centennial celebrations planned that year.
The original parade route ran north from the Edina Community Center up Wilson Road to Edina City Hall and garnered so much success that community members wanted it to continue as an annual event.
Edina Public Schools’ Community Education program took on the challenge and organized a Parade advisory council, made up of citizens. Mary Beth Carpenter, who worked with Community Education’s Youth Programs, spearheaded the event in its early years. “In those days, the parade had a home-town flavor,” said Doug Johnson, retired Director of Community Education. “It mainly showcased community education programs and community groups; kids in their soccer shirts, the middle school band, lots of little red wagons and streamers.”
By the late 1990s, the parade had grown and evolved, and the City of Edina joined as a contributing partner. The parade route was adapted and lengthened, now running east from Edina City Hall to the 50th and France area. In recent years, the Edina Community Foundation became the event sponsor, overseeing the parade committee and handling all the fundraising and bill paying for what’s become one of the premier community parades. In addition to youth community groups and organizations, the 1 ½ hour parade now features marching bands from other communities, clowns, jugglers and a special tribute to veterans, that has become a core piece of the Edina parade.
No matter how the parade grows and evolves in the future, one thing will remain constant: Edina’s Community Education staff will always be working behind the scenes, planning and ensuring the success of the event. “That’s community education,” said Valerie Burke, Director of Community Education for Edina Public Schools. “Our role is to create spaces and places for the generations of our community to learn, play and gather.”