White Bear Avenue Parade continues tradition

After many hours of meeting deadlines, filing entrant applications, planning the marching order, and securing finances, Lisa Theis will do what she's done for many years: stand alongside White Bear Avenue on a summer’s evening in July with a sense of accomplishment unique to her among the thousands of other spectators.

Theis is technically on the job as the parade organizer until the moment a police officer gives the signal for the parade to officially begin. Then, Theis can breathe a sign of relief as she sees “everything come together” for the White Bear Avenue Parade.

The parade begins at 7 pm on July 15 and is considered the official kickoff event for the Ramsey County Fair. As its name implies, the parade proceeds on White Bear Avenue, starting at Ivy Street and heading north to end at Aldrich Arena.

Anywhere from 100 to 120 entrants are expected to march. Among the entrants, local businesses will be emphasized, but the parade is also a must-attend draw for high-school marching bands, area royal courts and a variety of civic clubs and entertainment units.

Theis, the community organizer for the parade, says that there will probably not be a grand marshal this year, since the person who was suggested for the title could not attend the parade.

However, appreciating the community itself has always been the parade's main focus.

Theis believes that people “often overlook how many good things are happening here {in this part of St. Paul},” and that the parade celebrates those good things. 

The parade is also one of the last parades of its kind in this area. There were once many more parades that strode through the streets of St. Paul, but they were cancelled when they could no longer be funded.

As for the White Bear Avenue Parade, its popularity—roughly 12,000 spectators attend every year—and its significance to the community both testify that it will remain a part of St. Paul tradition for a long, long time.

For more information, visit www.wbaba.com/parade.htm. 

 

 

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