This year's parade features the theme "Let me be your neighbor!," aimed 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 who 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, according to organizers. 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 stage featuring local performing 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 its 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."
More information about the parade is posted at www.cityofpaloalto.org.
SEE MORE ONLINE
Coverage of the May Fete Parade will be posted this weekend. Go to www.PaloAltoOnline.com to see photos and more.