Top 10 Parades for Marching Bands

Attention high school band students: it's due time for a vacation, and performance, all in one!

With any of these top 10 high school marching band parade performances you and your entire band group will get to show off, compete, perform in front of extremely large crowds. You'll even get to tour, sightsee, and vacation in a new city! What could be better than combining playing and traveling?!

1). 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade - January 20th
The 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade is just an every 4 years sort of thing, but lucky for you this happens to be this upcoming year (2017)! Head to Washington D.C on January 20th next year and participate in a truly amazing, major-station-televised, monumental parade with another high school, university, and military bands, plus cultural, dance, and delegate groups! March down Pennsylvania Avenue, from 4th to 15th Streets, past the White House, immediately preceded the swearing-in ceremony for the 45th U.S president.

2). National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade - April 8th
The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is just a small part of a much larger 2-week festival that takes place each mid-April, the parade alone attracting just over 300,000 people from across the nation, and the world. This entire festival is a celebration of the arrival of spring, as well as a celebration of the gift of cherry trees from a Tokyo Major in 1912. The parade itself is a 1-mile route from 7th to 17th on Constitution Avenue, accepting about 10 different high school bands from across the U.S each year (each band containing 90 members or more). 

3). Portland Rose Festival Parade - June 2nd - 5th
Head up to Portland, Oregon, for the largest all-floral parade in the world. The Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade happens each year in early June and is considered to be the biggest spectator event in the whole state, with crowds of around 500,000 people annually. The route is about 4.3 miles long, marching from Memorial Coliseum to downtown Portland, with a handful of high school bands from across the nation participating in the floral madness. In both 2007 and 2011, this was voted the ‘Best Festival in the World’ by the International Festivals and Events Association.

4). National Independence Day Parade - July 4th
Washington D.C is undoubtedly the best place to celebrate the 4th of July, which is why the National Independence Day Parade is always a great choice for high school marching bands. This is your chance to march with the military, not to mention the special units, other bands, and political officials. This event draws thousands of spectators, the parade running from 7th to 17th along Constitution avenue. The program strives to find bands from each of the 50 states, the bands are chosen based on their geography, quality, and overall diversity. You better believe you are going to see a truly amazing firework show after the parade too!

5). San Diego Veterans Day Parade - November 11th
Honor America’s Veterans and showcase your band’s talents all at the same time at the San Diego Veterans Day Parade and Band of Pride Tribute. Happening in San Diego, California, each Veterans Day, this event provides bands with the opportunity to pay tribute, perform on the USS Midway, perform in the parade, and participate in an after Awards Dinner and Dance Cruise in the Bay! This is one of our favorite choices for high school bands, allowing them to be immersed in military history with the Rally on the Midway, perform, eat lunch, and tour, as well as a parade through the historic Gaslamp District!

6). Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade - November 23rd
Kick start the holiday season with the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade, the parade just a couple days before Thanksgiving (November 23rd) each year in Chicago. Heading down Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile this night parade complete with lighted floats, balloons, and Disney characters feature 5 or 6 high school marching bands, typically. Enjoy the route from Oak to Wacker as you take in the over 1 million sideline spectators, trees that light up as you pass, and even fireworks over the Chicago River!

7.) Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade - November 25th
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most widely recognized American parade events that happen each year, the iconic parade gaining sideline crowd followings sitting at 3.5 million, plus 50 million more viewers at home! This will be the parade’s 87th anniversary year, the entire event considered being one of the biggest in the country, even bigger so this year! You and over 10,000 other participants will march along with the largely iconic balloons, floats, and other performers including some of the best marching bands and dance groups in the nation.

8). Hollywood Christmas Parade - November 29th
Welcome to Hollywood, where you are going to see a ton of stars, a ton of bands, and a ton of different Santa Clauses! This Los Angeles traditional parade takes place on Hollywood Boulevard and has been doing so since 1928. Being the entertainment capital of the world it only makes sense that you will be marching down the biggest red carpet in the world, this parade televised on local and news stations, as well as the Hallmark Channel. Perform with about 15 other bands, as well as stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, William Shatner, and in the past Bob Hope!

9). Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Parade - December 7th
This year (2016) is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a day that forever changed history for both the U.S and Japan. During the 6th - 8th your marching band can participate in a respectable and memorable performance with other bands from the U.S and Japan with several different performance events, such as the opening ceremony, parade, and closing mass performance. The parade marches down gorgeous Kalakaua Avenue from Fort DeRussy to the Waikiki Bandshell, with a total of around 60 different performers including the high school marching bands, military bands, dignitaries, and international officials. This is one somber, unique, gorgeous, and highly memorable marching experience for your school group!

10). Fiesta Bowl Parade - January 2nd
The Phoenix Arizona Fiesta Bowl Parade is a highly popular and celebrated part of the Fiesta Bowl, an American college football bowl game played annually at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The parade is full of vibrant floats, giant balloons, and overall the highest ‘spirit of the southwest’, the 2-mile route in downtown Phoenix the ‘only major bowl parade with judged bands’. This is one of the most prestigious high school band competition, with 8 finalists moving on to compete for the Grand Masters Trophy and many others heading back to the stadium for a field show competition!