Need To Know: Celebrate Birmingham Parade is Coming to Town
Here's everything you need to know about this weekend's parade if you're watching, participating or just trying to avoid the crowds.
Birmingham will be celebrating the good ol' days this weekend, with the return of the Celebrate Birmingham Parade.
The parade returns after heavy rains canceled the annual event last spring. This year's parade ushers in the start of the summer season in Birmingham, featuring marching bands, a whiskers and waggles pet parade and plenty of loud trucks for the little ones.
Heading downtown to watch the parade this weekend, or maybe you're marching in it? Here's what you need to know before you go:
- Start time: 1 p.m. Sunday
- Theme: The Good Ole Days
- Watch out for: The Whiskers and Waggles Pet Parade, the event's new finale, as well as the Consulate General of Japan who will march with the Birmingham City Commission.
- Stick around for: Kids activities in Shain Park and Family Fun Day at the Birmingham Historical Museum and Park.
If you go to watch
The Celebrate Birmingham Parade will follow a new route this year, beginning on South Old Woodward at Brown Street. The parade then travels north on Old Woodward, turns west on Maple and south on Bates Street. The parade will end in Shain Park.
Spots to watch:
- Line South Old Woodward for a first glimpse of all the action as the parade begins.
- Snag a spot at the intersection of Old Woodward and Maple to make sure you catch all the commentary from the announcer's booth, located in front of Cosi.
- Catch the last turn at Maple and Bates near the newly renovated Surnow building.
- Watch the end of the parade by staking out a spot near Baldwin Public Library and in Shain Park.
Keep an eye out:
The Whiskers and Waggles Pet Parade will serve as the parade's grand finale this year, replacing the traditional basset hound waddle, which moved to Canterbury Village in Lake Orion last year. Kids from Birmingham's elementary and middle schools will be showing off their favorite furry friends, all the while dressing to the parade's theme.
Stick around for:
The Junior League of Birmingham will be hosting an afternoon of games and activities for kids in Shain Park from 1-4 p.m.
Also, after the parade ends, follow the Birmingham Fire Department's 1924 pumper truck back to the Birmingham Historical Museum for a Family Fun Day from 1:30-4 p.m. All outdoor events are free; admission to the museum is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. While you're there:
- Talk to Birmingham firefighters, past and present.
- Learn about the department's first African-American firefighter, David Greenwood.
- Meet Fire Chief Mike Metz.
- Stop by Dalmatian rescue station.
- Check out the department's new state-of-the-art vehicle, Engine No. 12.
- Get a free smoke detector
- Visit the museum exhibit, Birmingham's Fire Department: 100 Years of Service.
Where to park:
If you're participating
When and where to go:
Parade check-in begins at noon Sunday.
The participant staging area will be on South Old Woodward, beginning at Woodward Avenue and stretching all the way to the parade start-point at Brown Street.
The pet parade check-in will be at South Old Woodward and Bowers. The Groves High School marching band will line up on Hazel Street, while the Seaholm High School marching band will line up on Bowers.
If you're bringing a pet:
All pets must be friendly and on a leash or in a cage. Students must be able to control their pet, and are responsible for pet clean-up — waste containers will be located along the parade route. Adult supervision must be provided for every child and pet marcher.
If you need to avoid the crowds
Downtown streets will be blocked off at:
- South Old Woodward, at Woodward Avenue
- North Old Woodward, just north of Maple Road
- Bowers Street, at South Old Woodward
- Frank Street, at South Old Woodward
- Hazel Street, at South Old Woodward
- Daines Street, at South Old Woodward
- Forest Avenue, at Peabody
- East Brown Street, just west of South Old Woodward
- East Merrill Street, just west of South Old Woodward
- Maple Road, at Peabody
- Pierce Street, at Maple
- Martin Street, at Henrietta
- Henrietta Street, at Townsend
- Bates Street, just south of Townsend
- Townsend Street, at Bates
- Martin Street, just west of Bates
- Maple Road, at Chester Street
- Bates Street, at Willets Street
Ways to bypass downtown Birmingham:
If you're east of Birmingham, the best way to head north and south is via Woodward Avenue. If you're west of downtown Birmingham, however, the entirety of Chester Street is open from Brown to Willets.
To make your way east and west, head down to Lincoln Avenue on the south side, and Willets/Oakland to the north.