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Popular College Park Parade will Return this Summer

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

Rebranded as the July 4th Independence Day parade, the popular College Park parade on Rhode Island Avenue will return this summer.

It will be held on Monday, July 4, 2022, at 11:00 a.m.

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 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 of 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.”

The City was planning to hold the parade as part of the 75th anniversary of College Park’s founding, however, had to cancel it due to the COVID outbreak. The plan was 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 was to feature a reviewing station with professional judges to keep judging unbiased and an MC to announce groups walking by.

For the July 4th Independence Day parade, the City is inviting applications from interested City-based organizations and groups, including marching bands, military units, classic/custom vehicles, dogs/animals, equestrian groups, majorettes, fire/police vehicles, cheerleading squads, groups, performers, motorized floats, clown/humorist entries, girl and boy scouts, and many others. The parade will be limited to a family-friendly, general audience program.

Prizes will be awarded for the best entries in each category.

Entries must be received by 4 p.m., Friday, June 24, 2022.

The City Council has allocated necessary funds as part of the new FY 23 City budget to cover the expenses of the July 4th parade.

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3 Comments to “Popular College Park Parade will Return this Summer”

  1. By Philip Johnson, May 13, 2022 @ 10:35 pm

    My family lived at 9734 53rd Ave from 1953 to 1967. It was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in. I attended Holly Park Elementary School. I used to enjoy playing at Birch Field and playing baseball with the Boys Club when I was older. The annual College Park Parade was one of the highlights of the year. The parade always came down 53rd Ave and ended up at Birch Field for an afternoon of festivities. I used to play along the train tracks with my friends. We would put our ear to the tracks to listen for approaching trains long before they could be seen. We would occasionally lay pennies on the track for the train to flatten. I have so many fond memories of growing up in College Park. Just one note, my late father was the person who created the College Park, City Municipal Symbol. He drew it in pencil then traced the final master with pen and ink ✍️ freehand. He never received any recognition for this contribution to the City of College Park. He also volunteered his time to many causes and evens in College Park between 1953 – 1967. He also built floats for the parade. I was always so proud of my father. He served in the Navy during the Korean War. I especially wanted to let you know who my father was Francis Leo Johnson. Thank you

  2. By Philip Johnson, May 13, 2022 @ 10:37 pm

    New comment

    My family lived at 9734 53rd Ave from 1953 to 1967. It was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in. I attended Holly Park Elementary School. I used to enjoy playing at Birch Field and playing baseball with the Boys Club when I was older. The annual College Park Parade was one of the highlights of the year. The parade always came down 53rd Ave and ended up at Birch Field for an afternoon of festivities. I used to play along the train tracks with my friends. We would put our ear to the tracks to listen for approaching trains long before they could be seen. We would occasionally lay pennies on the track for the train to flatten. I have so many fond memories of growing up in College Park. Just one note, my late father was the person who created the College Park, City Municipal Symbol. He drew it in pencil then traced the final master with pen and ink ✍️ freehand. He never received any recognition for this contribution to the City of College Park. He also volunteered his time to many causes and evens in College Park between 1953 – 1967. He also built floats for the parade. I was always so proud of my father. He served in the Navy during the Korean War. I especially wanted to let you know who my father was Francis Leo Johnson. Thank you

  3. By Fazlul Kabir, May 15, 2022 @ 4:16 pm

    Hi Phil, Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing such a wonderful piece of College Park’s history. Frankly, I didn’t know that your late father created College Park’s municipal symbol (emblem). I will definitely share this with my Council colleagues and staff. Please email me at fkabir@collegeparkmd.gov, so that we connect better and chat more in the coming days. Thanks again!

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