Glenside’s “Grand, Glorious, Patriotic Parade” started in 1904, and is America’s longest running July 4th parade. The parade is the most popular and anticipated event in Glenside every year, which is why it won Best of Glenside for Outdoor Event/Series.
The Parade begins with Children’s Morning Program held at Renninger Memorial Park in Cheltenham Township at 10 am. There, the young generation decorate their bikes, strollers & wagons, win prizes for running races, and the famed peanut toss. A highlight is the announcement and gift baskets awarded to Little Mr & Miss Glenside.
Jamey Piggott at the Children’s’ Morning Program
The actual July 4th Parade commences at 4 pm and draws an audience of up to 30,000 people on a clear day, which is bigger than the Philadelphia July 4th Parade, “said Jamey Piggott, president of The Greater Glenside Patriotic Association (GGPA).
The GGPA is a volunteer, nonprofit organization with 25 members who works hard all year long to fundraiser and plan Glenside’s longest-running tradition. The funding of the parade is from donors in the community. As a result every July 4th delivers a visual of buses, trucks, cars rolling in, delivering performers, that sparks his excitement.
From Left to Right: Rick Kass (VP), Bill Hall, Cathy Henninger (Treasurer), Carol Gillespie (commissioner), Brendan Boyle (Pa State Rep), June Parkinson, Maureen Elwood, Jon Fox (Fmr Congressman) and Bill Marren.
“This year’s parade is bigger than ever with acts from nine states and features more musical performers than ever before,” said Piggott. The GPPA pays some performers fees unlike some parades, so the acts can invest in costumes to deliver a great show. Piggott continues, “the attractions come back every year because they enjoy being part of the parade and most of all performing for the community.” The Fralinger String Band who won first, second or third prize in 18 of the last 25 Mummers New Years’ Day parades and the Corporales San Simon dancers are crowd favorites every year.
Piggott became president of GPPA this year after Al Hermann retired from his role of president after 19 years. “We have a lot of people to thank that help us make the parade run so smooth every year. Our focus is family friendly security & safety is the number one priority of the parade, and a big shout out has to go to the Abington and Cheltenham Police departments for making the parade safe every year.”
According to Piggott “the prime viewing spots can be found at St. Luke’s Evangelical Roman Catholic Church at Easton and Fair Hill Avenue. It has plenty of seating. Other popular spots include the New Life Presbyterian Church at Jenkintown and Easton; the stretch of Easton Road to Keswick Avenue; and the turn at Easton and Waverly Roads.”
Bill Hall, the Parade and Fireworks Coordinator adds, “The July 4th festivities end with The America the Beautiful Aerial Fireworks at Abington High Senior High School. The fireworks are nearly half-hour of shells and color that draws around 15,000 spectators. Smaller groups of people gather at the Standard Press Steel Company in Jenkintown and several fast food parking lots on Easton Road.
Bill Hall oversees the fireworks celebration due to his background in the pyrotechnics industry. At one time, he was responsible for some of the fireworks at Veteran’s Stadium, particularly the volley that would accompany a home run. Knowing this background, a county commissioner solicited his help back in 1997, and he has been an integral part of the day.
The After-Dark America the Beautiful Aerial Fireworks Spectacular is launched from the Abington Township Maintenance Yard adjacent to southwest athletic fields of the Abington Senior High School campus, Highland Ave. and Ghost Rd.
Our nation’s birthday is a long-standing tradition uniting residents and creating shared memories. The parade also link the Cheltenham and Abington sides of the community together every year on America’s birthday. “I love our community, and being a part of making this incredible July 4th celebration happen, said Piggott in speaking about why he donates so much of his time every year.
2018 Run-Down: (See parade route and end of page below)
10:00 AM: The patriotic gala begins with a “We Love America” Children’s Program from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Renninger Memorial Park in Cheltenham Township. .Festivities for 2,000 some attendees include decorated bike/stroller/float parades and competitive, award-winning field/sports contests, followed by lunchtime refreshments.
4:00 PM: The Grand, Glorious, Patriotic Parade held on a 1.5-mile stretch through Glenside (see parade route below). The 114th year-old “Grand, Glorious, Patriotic Parade” starts at 4 p.m. with a two-hours-plus, 1.5-mile march through Glenside’s American flag-bedecked streets. The parade includes quality music and marching units in three divisions: United We Stand, American Patriots and Heroes and Let Freedom Ring.
After Dark: America the Beautiful Aerial Fireworks Spectacular held at Abington Junior and Senior High Schools. The GGPA and Abington Police asks for everyone’s patience after the fireworks so vehicle and pedestrian traffic can exit safely and securely. “ It will take up to about 30 minutes to clear out and away from the school, so take your time and remember the enjoyment of the celebration & the day.” asks Piggott.
The patriotic association is the recipient of a Distinguished Community Service Award presented by The Greater Glenside Chamber of Commerce for its annual and effective sponsorship of the entire Independence Day Celebration.
A day-long celebration of this kind comes with total cost of more than $60,000 The GGPA is a not-for-profit 501(c) organization. The patriotic association funds the entire event and relies on financial contributions for its July extravaganza. Donations can be sent to post office box 72, Glenside, PA, 19038-0072. Contributions may be payable to the Greater Glenside Patriotic Association. or easily online at www.glenside4thevent.com