Always held on July 4 at 10 a.m. on Main Street hb4thofjuly.org
Huntington Beach, California--The Huntington Beach 4th of July Parade is always held on July 4 to celebrate Independence Day. The parade is over 100 years old, and began as a fairly small event along Main Street near the Huntington Beach Pier (yes, there was a pier 100 years ago, as well). The people who celebrated the first parade are gone, but the parade's festivities continue today.
The parade usually launches with a Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast in Lake Park around 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. The fee is affordable and the cakes are hot.
The next event is the Surf City Run, a 5-10k run around the town with categories for kids. It usually ends up around 9 a.m. in time to clear the streets for the parade.
The parade bills itself as the largest Independence Day Parade west of the Mississippi. The event typically attracts around 200,000 people or more, according to estimates, though the beach itself, and the fireworks at night on the beach that began in 2004 after years of being a fee-based event at Huntington Beach High School draw many more crowds.
The parade has been operated for many years by Pageantry Productions, a California company. The event operates as a non-profit with a board of directors comprised city council appointees. There's a director who sometimes is paid a salary by the City of Huntington Beach, but the event is mostly supported through corporate donations and a vendor expo that is held a few day surrounding July 4.
The parade typically lasts about 2 to 2.5 hours and includes numerous floats mixed with equestrian units, bands, civic groups, several guests celebrities, a grand marshal, local politicians, and military groups and units. Each year the parade includes a theme and the floats and entries try to provide extra spice by decoratint according to the theme. It often includes spirit, patriotism and the beach as motifs.
Launching the parade, which is held for a few blocks on Pacific Coast Highway and on Main Street for approx. a mile between PCH & Talbert Ave., often you'll see several skydivers arrive and sometimes a military fly-over.
The parade route goes along the historic homes, high school, and civic center, and the houses are decorated and can compete in a contest for best decorations.
The event is free and the things you will need include parking (you should come early or simply plan to walk many blocks) and sunblock as the weather can be sunny and bright. Portable restrooms are set up in a few places along the parade route where many residents stake out their land with yellow tape to host parties for their guests who want to watch the parade. For those who prefer less crowds, the last section of the parade around Seacliff Shopping Center at Main Street and Yorktown is where you will find a little more space generally.