The Danville 4th of July Parade has been going since I was born—no joke. It is the best small town parade in the Bay Area, and also one of the biggest—so park early and carpool. The Kiwanis Club of the San Ramon Valley sponsors it every year, and this year it will honor local service organizations, including the Blue Star Moms the Taylor Family Foundation and Hospice of the East Bay. There are many others that are listed on the website as well.
Participants in the parade will include the high school marching bands, a few local drill teams (stomping and drumming that is pretty flippin’ amazing), vintage and collectors’ cars, way too many real estate agents in luxury cars, boy scout and girl scout troops, church bands, martial arts demonstrations, Chinese dance teams, vintage tractors, equestrian teams and oh, so much more.
I used to attend the Danville 4th of July Parade back when local men pushed their lawnmowers around in a choreographed routine as part of the Lawnmower Brigade. These days, lawn-mowing may be an art lost to outsourcing, but a bunch of guys still get together every year and cruise around with their star-spangled lawnmowers, and the crowd still giggles.
This whole cast of characters will make their way from San Ramon Valley High School at the corner of Railroad and Hartz all the way down to where Hartz becomes San Ramon Valley Boulevard, and then it all stops at the intersection of Sycamore Valley Road at the Livery and Mercantile.
The Danville 4th of July Parade will begin at 9am, but if you are a fanatic, please note that you may not stake your claim to a bit of sidewalk until 6pm on the 3rd. Yes, this, too is a tradition. Many Danville residents arrive the night before with their lawn chairs and their duct tape to mark their territory for a prime viewing spot. It’s a no-holds-barred free-for-all for prime sidewalk real estate. But if you put up your chairs too early, the cops will come and take them away.
It may be the most popular parade in the Valley, but it hasn’t let that go to its head—the Danville 4th of July Parade is still a charming slice of good ol’ fashioned American fun.