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HAIL TO THE CARS: Last year's Rose, White and Blue Parade featured some flag-decked vintage autos.

Coming Up Roses

Rose, White and Blue Parade holds up July Fourth tradition in San Jose

By Andrea Frainier

WITH THE cancellation of the America Festival and downtown fireworks display, South Bay residents need only to look a few miles west to the Rose, White and Blue Parade for their Americana fix, where decorated floats, antique automobiles and marching units will parade down The Alameda this Saturday. Wanting to pay homage to the Fiesta de Las Rosas Parade, which was an Alameda tradition from 1896 to 1969, this family-friendly parade combines themes of independence and roses as a way to remember and honor the rich history of the San Jose neighborhood. "There's always been a parade on the Alameda," says Larry Clark, one of the organizers of the event. "This parade has a combination of being a hometown parade and the 10th largest city in the country."

A crowd of about 3,000 people came out to watch last year's parade, which marked the celebration's debut. This year, Clark predicts a crowd of 6,000 people will gather to cheer on some 90 groups that are participating in the parade. The themes of the floats remain under tight lip, but last year, residents from Cleveland Avenue took home the grand prize as they sang and danced down the street in the Drew Carey–themed float, "Cleveland Rocks."

Unsure of how the local community would receive the event, Clark said that immediately following last year's parade, people wanted to know if it was going to come back again. "We didn't get any negative feedback," Clark says. "Now, the tradition is that the neighbors are calling me to make sure the route is going by their house." Catapulting off last year's success, this Fourth of July celebration will feature a festival at the end of the parade route, which will include a kids' area with carnival games, food vendors, musical acts, rose displays and prizes plus a historic tour of The Alameda in an antique bus. The musical acts start at 11am with rock & rollers Off the Record. Also appearing are DJ Eruvey, and Mucho Axé.

Despite the economic downturn, canceling the parade never crossed any of the organizers' minds. "We're kind of a low budget thing to begin with," Clark says. "This parade is mainly fueled by volunteers." The parade aims to bring together residents, local businesses and school organizations and encourage them to participate in any way possible, whether it's walking in the parade or volunteering at the festival. "It's not a parade just to watch, it's a parade to be in," Clark says. The parade route starts at West San Carlos Street and Shasta Avenue and ends at the intersection of Hanchett Avenue and The Alameda, a total of 1.4 miles. The festivities begin at 10am and last until 3pm.


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