The Wheat Ridge Carnation Parade will roll west along 38th Ave from Ames Street to Upham Street on Saturday, August 12th beginning at 9:30am MST. Established in 1969, the Parade is among one of the longest standing traditions held to celebrate the incorporation of our beloved Wheat Ridge. The Parade features local schools, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that always show up to have fun and impress the crowd! Join us for a rockin’ good time with our “Rock n’ Carnations” theme this year!
Through the incorporation of a theme, the Parade seeks to celebrate not only Wheat Ridge’s growth as a city but also the evolution and expansion of Rock n’ Roll in the 70’s. The theme encourages participants to really stretch their imagination to creatively include carnations in their entries. Prior to the Parade, the Wheat Ridge Grange (3850 High Court) will offer a Pancake Breakfast beginning at 7am MST. Join us for a delicious breakfast and find a seat to enjoy our community parade!
Parade entry application is now open. Please fill out the form on this page.
‘Rockin’ Carnations’ More Than ‘Just a Parade’
Parades in the U.S. date back a long way: Pequot Lakes, Minn., claims the first parade in the U.S. took place when legendary Paul Bunyan – circa 1834 – moved logging camps from old locations to new by sledding a stream of buildings over snow on skids pulled by the Great Blue Ox. The first parade on record was a St. Patrick’s Day Parade held in New York City in 1762. Completing the top four most anticipated annual parades in the U.S., the Mystick Crew of Comus society held the first Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans in 1856, the Valley Hunt Club’s first Tournament of Roses Parade was held in Pasadena in 1890 and the “World’s Largest Store” staged the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 1924.
Following a long line of firsts, 2019 will mark the 50th consecutive year of the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival Parade held to commemorate the first year of the city’s founding in 1969. The 2017 Carnation Festival Parade is the first to have a theme: “Rockin’ Carnations.”
Recently, chaired for 12 years by Steve Keller (husband of Moe Keller, former Wheat Ridge City Council member, as well as House District 24 and Senate District 20 representative) and, currently, chaired by Leah Dozeman, assisted by festival board member Ruth Baranowski, the parade functions as one of the most visible way the city honors service groups, local schools and businesses, the fire and police departments and local, state and national politicians and candidates as well as church groups and hobby clubs, including auto, horseback riding, biking, walking, martial arts, cheerleading and dance. The parade also honors distinguished residents by selecting a Grand Marshal, Count and Countess who serve as royalty and ride in convertibles along the parade route. Optimist Ron Benson will be the Parade Announcer.
Engaging residents in all aspects of the parade is a main goal of the 2017 parade. Community groups and individuals who want to participate need to register online by Tuesday, Aug. 1, to secure one of 80 total spots. Residents can also nominate festival royalty by submitting a form on TheCarnationFestival.com. On the day of the parade, two resident judges will randomly select three attendees from the crowd to help judge the winning entries in the categories of Best Marching Band, Marching Unit, Musical Group, Business, Vehicle and Float as well as Most Creative and the Community Award. This year, even the commemorative plates given as awards were selected from local artists’ designs. Shirley Nakamoto of the Wheat Ridge Art League submitted the winning design. Parade winners, royalty, the city and the Carnation Festival board will receive plates at the Awards Ceremony at the Saturday evening concert from 7:20 to 7:50 p.m.
The parade runs Saturday morning from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. With staging from Ames to Depew streets, the route continues to Upham Street along West 38th Avenue. Dominick Breton and The Grange board will serve a $7 donation Pancake Breakfast at The Grange from 7 to 9 a.m., with parking available in front of Wheat Ridge Cyclery and at Stevens Elementary. Additional parking is available along the side streets of the parade route.
The Festival Board welcomes everyone in the community and surrounding communities to join in the celebration of Wheat Ridge. –Vicki Ottoson