Palo Alto's May Fete Parade to march Saturday

Annual event celebrating kids with theme 'Let me be your neighbor!'

On Saturday, May 3, Palo Alto will hold its 92nd annual May Fete Children's Parade, beginning downtown on the corner of Emerson Street and University Avenue at 10 a.m. and end at noon in Heritage Park at 300 Homer Ave.

This year's parade features the theme "Let me be your neighbor!," aiming to encourage participants to display good neighborly behavior and connect and care for each other through community activities.

City event coordinator Alison Williams said the theme reflects one of the core missions of the Palo Alto Community Services Department.

"We truly want to encourage kids to see how they can help their neighbors," she said. "By participating in the community, they can make it thrive."

The parade's grand marshal this year will be Palo Alto Community Child Care, a children's services nonprofit that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Williams said the parade will also give a special shout-out to the Palo Alto Historical Association, which turned 100 last year.

The 2014 parade line-up includes Palo Alto schools like Heffalump Preschool, Ohlone and Nixon elementary schools and the Girls' Middle School, as well as scout troops, the Palo Alto Police Department and marching bands from both Terman Middle School and Stanford University.

Children interested in participating in the parade that don't have a designated group to march with can join the "Kids on Parade" category at the check-in table on the corner of University Avenue and Emerson Street at 9:30 a.m.

Kids are encouraged to march in costumes related to the parade's theme, and are welcome to parade on bikes, trikes, scooters, roller skates or another form of (non-motorized) wheels. Pets are also invited, though the city's website reminds participants that all pets should be on leash or properly housed.

Because the event is a children's parade, Williams said, parents are encouraged to watch from the sidelines, though of course they are allowed to walk alongside their kids if they wish.

"The parade is a huge Palo Alto tradition. A lot of grandparents and parents have been in the parade," Williams said.

At the parade's end at Heritage Park, there will be an array of free children's activities as well as a performance stage featuring local groups and food for participants to enjoy in the picnic space. Festivities in the park will go from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Across the street from the park, the Museum of American Heritage will be hosting their Annual Vintage Vehicle & Family Festival from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event will feature a wide array of vintage cars on display, hands-on science demonstrations and other family-friendly activities. The museum's feature exhibit will also be open for viewing.

This year's parade sponsors include the Stanford Federal Credit Union, Boost by Mercedes-Benz, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Allied Insurance, University Art, Palo Alto Sport Shop & Toy World and Stanford Park Nannies.

"The parade will happen rain or shine, although I think it's going to be a beautiful day" Williams said. "It's really a day for our kids, something to build their confidence and give them a day out."

For more information about the parade, go to

There will also be several road closures on Saturday for the festivities. Beginning at 6 a.m. and lasting until about noon, University Avenue will be closed between High Street to Kipling Street, and Waverley Street will be closed between University Avenue and Channing Avenue. There will be road closures in the area of Heritage Park at 300 Homer Avenue until about 3 p.m.


Like this comment
Posted by Ronald
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I don't see a mention of Rinconada Pool- will it open Saturday for kids?

Like this comment
Posted by Pat
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Rinconada Pool opens on Saturday May 10th for recreational swimming on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30.

Like this comment
Posted by Ronald
a resident of Downtown North
on May 1, 2014 at 11:26 am

Thanks Pat. fyi - this will be the first year in many decades in didn't open after the parade.

Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Triple El
on May 1, 2014 at 11:57 am

The downtown Palo Alto Farmers Market always opens the Saturday after May Fete Parade.

Hey, anybody know why publicity on May Fete is so spotty? Probably the biggest family participation event in Palo Alto, yet until about a week ago the May Fete's own webpage and FB page hadn't been updated from last year.

Like this comment
Posted by Katie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2015 at 7:16 pm

I have such fond memories of the parade. My friend, Cassie, and her brother, Daniel, and I always were in the parade. So glad the tradition continues.

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