Going to the Parade
Whether you want to watch the parade with your family, volunteer to assist, or be in the parade itself, you’re invited to participate.
O’Fallon’s Heritage & Freedom Fest parade is one of the largest and most colorful in the area. The parade draws a crowd of thousands proudly dressed in red, white and blue, and cheering for the patriotic parade entries vying for cash prizes and trophies.
O’Fallon’s Heritage & Freedom Fest Parade officially kicks off the City’s Independence Day celebration at 9:30 a.m. on July 4th. The parade route starts at the corner of Main Street and Civic Park Drive, continuing north on Main Street to Tom Ginnever Avenue, where it turns east, ending at T.R. Hughes Boulevard near the entrance to the festival grounds. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early to avoid traffic closures and find a spot along the route.
When is the parade being held?
The parade will be July 4 at 9:30 a.m. Depending on where you view it from, the parade typically lasts 2 to 2½ hours.
What happen if it rains?
The parade is held rain or shine.
What is the route of the parade?
The 2.1-mile parade route begins at Main Street and Civic Park Drive, travels north on Main Street, turns east on Tom Ginnever Avenue and ends at T.R. Hughes Boulevard.
How early do I need to arrive to get a good view?
Some spectators begin arriving around 7:30–8 a.m.
Who hosts the parade?
The parade is coordinated by the City of O'Fallon with great assistance from many volunteers.
Is the parade going to be on TV?
Yes, the parade is aired on the City's government access cable channel, O'FallonTV, which may be found on-demand, Charter Cable channel 991 and U-verse channel 99.
Can I bring my dog to the parade?
No. Due to the large crowds and chance of extreme weather, pets are prohibited unless they are service animals.
Are there going to be fireworks at the parade?
No, but there will be a spectacular fireworks display on the Festival Grounds on July 3 and July 4.
How do I get involved?
Participating in the Parade
The theme for the 2022 Heritage & Freedom Fest parade is "American Heartland." We cannot wait to see what creativity the theme inspires. To enter your organization or company in the Parade as a participant, please complete the application by Friday, June 3.
June 15 – Mandatory parade lineup meeting in the Multi-Purpose Room of City Hall at 6:30 p.m. Only one person from each entry is required to attend, though it is helpful for the float driver to attend as well.
July 4 – Check in begins at 7 a.m. Must be in place by 8:30 a.m. Mayor's Choice Judging 8:15–8:45 a.m. Parade kicks off at 9:30 a.m.
Road Closures on July 4
7 a.m. – Civic Park Dr. from Woodlawn Ave. to Main St., includes access to City Hall from Main St.
8:30 a.m. – Main St. from Elm St. to Tom Ginnever Ave., all access to Main St. (May vary by traffic flow and set up)
9 a.m. – Tom Ginnever Ave. from Main St. to T.R. Hughes Blvd., all access to Tom Ginnever Ave. (May vary by traffic flow and set up)
How to Build A Parade Float or Golf Cart Float
The links below will help your group get started building an award-winning parade float.
Supplies and Ideas
General parade rules and regulations
- Creativity is highly encouraged for all parade entries.
- Bonus points are awarded for a)following theme b)music c)mechanical movement.
- Entries with live animals must take care of all animal waste before, during and after parade.
- Improper use of the American Flag will not be permitted.
- No water guns or confetti cannons will be allowed.
- Decorate entries using only fire resistant or flame retardant material.
- Towed floats must replenish candy behind the float or on the side of truck bed.
- Candy should be in pre-wrapped and self-contained packages.
- One support vehicle may be included per entry and decorated – must be listed on the application.
- The use of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited.
- No entry may sell merchandise along parade route.
- If your float breaks down during the parade, move aside as soon as possible.
- Line-up requests will be considered, but cannot be guaranteed.
- Disputes may be presented to the Festival Manager for clarification during the parade.
- The Heritage and Freedom Fest parade is part of a community-wide celebration in a family-oriented environment. It is not a public forum for debate of civic issues or public policy. The Festival office reserves the right to reject any entry that is inappropriate or at odds with the characteristics of the event.
- Children under the age of eight (8) are not recommended to ride bikes in the parade and should only ride on floats or vehicles under adult supervision.
- Do not throw candy from the float.
- Bike riders must adhere to state law regarding helmets.
- Bring enough water for walkers to last through the parade.
- It is mandatory to have 4 wheel walkers per float.
- Keep 30 ft. distance between parade entries!
HANDING OUT FIREWORKS IS PROHIBITED.
Where can I get a parade application?
Once available, a link to the online application can be found at the top of the Parade
What is the deadline for submitting an application?
The deadline for submitting a Parade Participant application is noon on Friday, June 3, 2022.
Are there published rules for parade entries?
Yes, rules for the parade are part of the application.
Can I still get in the parade this year if I miss the deadline?
When and where are parade meetings held?
The mandatory parade lineup meeting will be held in the Multi-purpose Room of City Hall on Wednesday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m. Only one person from each entry is require to attend, though it is helpful for the float driver to attend as well.
What are the rules for floats?
- Float Dimensions: Max 60 feet in OVERALL length, 14 feet in width or height, including tow vehicles.
- Any entry with a flatbed float or being towed must be fully skirted on 3 sides (two sides and back) for visual appeal.
- Entries must carry a fire extinguisher-at least 2-A, 10-B:C rating accessible to the operator.
- Floats must have hand holds for float riders.
- Floats must have at least four (4) wheel walkers, one wheel walker on each side of float and one wheel walker on each side of vehicle.
Where will my entry be in the parade?
The parade lineup will be decided by the Parade Leads, you will receive your lineup assignment at the mandatory meeting in June.
I am a participant in the parade. Can I park my car in the parade lineup area?
No. Depending on which section you are assigned to, you will receive a parking option. These will be discussed at the mandatory meeting on June 16 and disclosed in your information packet.
What are the rules regarding signage?
- One banner or sign must be carried or displayed in front of all judged entries.
- Banner size requirements: minimum 2 ft. x 2 ft. Maximum of 3 ft. x 25 ft.
- Banner carriers must be capable of keeping the parade pace.
- Signs cannot exceed 2 ft. x 4 ft.
- No “For Sale” signs may be displayed by entries.
Where can I drop off people who will be participating in the parade?
This depends on your lineup location. Section 1 entries can drop off parade participants at the parking lot located near the railroad tracks at the intersection of Sonderen and Wabash streets. Section 2 through Section 4 participants may drop-off participants at the lot behind McGurks – located at Main and Elm streets.
Can my dog walk in the parade with my entry?
No, unless the dog is a service animal. The pavement gets very hot during the 2.1-mile parade route and may burn the pads of a dog's paws.
I have questions regarding my application, who do I contact?
What do I need to know on parade day?
- Line up begins at 7:00 a.m.
- Check-in locations will be at each section.
- A parade coordinator will assign you a number and direct you to your line up area.
- All participants must be in place by 8:30 a.m.
- Designate a meeting place for your group for those being dropped off.
- No parking provided at the line up area or along the parade route.
- The entry described on your application is the only entry allowed into the parade.
- All entries must maintain their speed and position throughout the parade.
If I have a motorized entry, are there special rules?
Yes! All motorized entries must follow these rules:
- All vehicles must be completely restored. Vehicles with missing parts or unfinished paint jobs are not permitted.
- Motorized vehicles must be operated by a licensed driver with liability insurance.
What are the rules for commercial and political entries
- Please see application for fees and deadlines.
- Commercial entries are eligible for judging.
- May be sponsored by an individual business or business in a mutual association.
- Commercial entries must decorate toward the parade theme. Commercial vehicles must be decorated more than 75% or will not be permitted event day.
- Entries must adhere to general float requirements.
- A logo or business name may be displayed but float must be further decorated.
- Floats should not be used primarily for advertising purposes.
- Political candidates must decorate their entry.
- Magnets and signs are not accepted as decoration.
What are the rules for walking units
- For multiple entries within a single organization: list the order they will appear on the application. (Schools with cheerleaders, drum majors, band, drill team.)
- Walkers with children must have a minimum of four (4) adults.
- Performances must be in a forward motion and/or marching routine.
- STOPPING TO PERFORM FOR JUDGES OR TV WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION.
- Any action delaying the progress of the parade or creating large gaps are prohibited.