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San Mateo Parade

New summer parade to kick off county fair: Collaborative new local initiative is seeking community participants

Break out the paper mache, get your costumes ready and bring out the banners, because it’s almost time to spring into summer during the very first parade kicking off the San Mateo County Fair.


With warmer weather around the corner, the community is invited to sign up for the mile-long parade that marks the first time the city of San Mateo and the event center will partner to host bands, floats, equestrian groups balloons and more.


Parade participants will start marching Saturday, June 10 and those interested in joining procession are encouraged to sign up by May 10.


Whether you’re a nonprofit, school group or local business, Dana Stoehr, CEO of the San Mateo County Event Center CEO, said the parade is about highlighting community.


“We want everyone to be involved. That’s the great thing about parades, they’re sort of the epitome of the community. People get together and make floats, there’s local high school bands,” Stoehr said. “I encourage everybody that wants to be in the parade. We want it to be fun, if you have an old car or a youth group, we really want to encourage San Mateo pride.”


Nearly 10,000 people are expected to attend the premiere Spring into Summer Parade made possible due to a collaborative effort between the city of San Mateo and the county event center.


“We are able to work with community partners, the city being a very important partner, to do these kinds of things as part of the fair itself, which is the biggest community event we have in the county of San Mateo. So this just demonstrates that philosophy of us working with community partners, whether it’s educational or entertainment or businesses; that’s what we do,” Stoehr said.


Councilwoman Maureen Freschet collaborated with Stoehr on the partnership that will mark the first day of the week-long fair best known as the place “where tradition meets innovation.”


San Mateo hasn’t had a parade for nearly five years, with its last being held downtown around Memorial Day to commemorate the 40-year anniversary of its adoption of the 101st Airborne Division. In a press release, Freschet said she was hopeful this summer’s landmark event would mark the first of many more.


“This parade is a long-standing dream, and it’s a wonderful and timely opportunity to bring our community together, to celebrate our amazing diversity, showcase our cultural richness and share our pride in San Mateo,” Freschet said, later adding “it will be a day of fun and festivities for our San Mateo families and children that will hopefully become a tradition that our residents will look forward to.”


The mile-long route begins on Franklin Parkway at the Bay Meadows development and will wind toward the event center at Saratoga Drive and Delaware Street. Participants are encouraged to be creative, consider using accompanying music and show up in costume. Registration is required and free for community groups as well as nonprofits; and costs $250 for businesses or commercial entities looking to participate, according to the county and event center.


The city will pick a grand marshal and all participants receive free admission to the fair. A community panel will judge and announce award winners at the end of the parade, according to the Event Center. Stoehr noted they’ve also hired a professional parade coordinator to help the signature celebration.


“The city of San Mateo and the San Mateo County Fair have collaborated to present what we hope is an annual tradition,” Stoehr said. “This will be a lot of fun!”

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