1954 Hollywood Parade photo in Images of America: College Park (2005) by Stephanie Stullich and Katharine D. Bryant. Original Photo Credit: College Park Boys and Girls Club

College Park’s 75th anniversary of incorporation is coming up on Saturday, June 6, 2020. The 75th Diamond Anniversary event from 12:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. will embody all that is College Park – the community, businesses, schools, facilities, and artists who have made the City thrive for these 75 years.

Current plans call for a parade from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. down Rhode Island Avenue to Duvall Field. The parade will be followed by a fair at Duvall Field from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. to celebrate 75 years of College Park with entertainment, music, and activities.

There used to be a big parade along Rhode Island Avenue each spring to initiate the Boys & Girls Club season.  Community members, high school bands, military units, fire departments, scouts, local sports teams, etc took part.  There was a reviewing stand at Duval Field and according to some long time residents, awards were given to different groups in the parade.  Opening day baseball/softball games were held after the parade.  It was very much well attended.

The College Park Boys & Girls Club, which was founded in 1952, was responsible for the parades. Several residents recalled how the parade was an important tradition for the community. Debbie Herbert, a resident from Hollywood since 1961 and previous athletic director for the Girls Club also recalled details about the parade. Herbert said the parade involved the sports teams, bands, majorettes, cheerleaders and floats as well as the fire department and police department. Her mother Edna Herbert, in fact, was the reason why she first got involved with planning the Hollywood parades. Herbert approximated that the parades ended in the 1990s, possibly because of the decline of local children who participated in the Boys & Girls Club. “It was just a day to get everything going…. so all the teams would gather up down at REI when it first originally started it was over where the old police barracks was. We used to line up there and we’d take it all the way down Route 1 to Duvall Field. And then after that, after the parade was completely over the team would get out on the field and we’d play ball all afternoon.”

At the 75th anniversary event, the City intends to invite various local community members to participate in the parade including elected officials, public safety organizations (fire, EMS, police), schools, marching bands, color guards, car clubs, and other organizations. The parade will feature a reviewing station with professional judges to keep judging unbiased and an MC to announce groups walking by.

In order to safely and successfully accomplish the parade aspect of the event, side streets on the parade route will need to be closed a few hours prior to the parade, while Rhode Island Avenue will be closed one hour prior to step-off. City will have security and visual markers along the parade route to signify the road closures. Security details and road closures will be discussed in further detail with Prince George’s County.

The parade will lead to a free fair at Duvall Field featuring live entertainment, performers, local vendors and exhibitors, food trucks, inflatables, carnival games, kid-friendly activities, and much more. To tie in the 75th anniversary, City will ask vendors /exhibitors to tie in a birthday theme (menu items, birthday-themed activities, etc.) and possibly host a contest for the most spirited display. Bands and performers will have ties to College Park, as well – past and present. Volunteers are needed for both the parade and fair, so there will be an opportunity for resident involvement.

According to City staff, $20,000 is budgeted in FY20. Due to increased costs for security and increased transportation requests (like ride-sharing and use of the City bus), an additional $10,000 is requested to fully cover costs.