Families mark Fourth of July with 10th annual ‘Rose White and Blue’ parade
SAN JOSE — What’s a classic Fourth of July parade without a singing Elvis impersonator, a jazz band, packs of roller skaters and pooches, and candy-painted antique cars?
Thousands of families packed stretches of the Rose Garden and Shasta-Hanchett neighborhoods Tuesday to get a closeup of this and more at the 10th annual Rose, White and Blue 4th of July parade.
The parade kicked off just past 10 a.m., departing from Lincoln High School on Dana Avenue and stretching about 1.5 miles as cars, bikes, marchers and floats made their way to the end at Westminster Presbyterian Church on The Alameda. Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese served as the parade’s grand marshal.
About an hour before show time, San Jose resident Gene Cox put the finishing decorative touches on his silver ’57 Chevy convertible. Cox lent out his Chevy and two other antique cars — a ’64 Mustang and a ’65 Falcon convertible, both built at the old Ford plant in Milpitas — for dignitaries to ride in during the parade.
“It’s fun to see all the people and to help the (organizers) out a little,” Cox said. “I do this mostly just to haul the dignitaries around. I don’t do it for me.”
The parade was started by The Alameda Business Association as a way to draw attention to the street’s merchants and restaurants. But it’s grown every year into a tradition that has stretched well beyond its original neighborhood boundaries.
There have been growing pains along the way, but the parade provided a way for San Joseans to celebrate the Fourth during the years when there were no downtown fireworks.
At the festival following the parade, Michael Barnaba took care of MC duties as Uncle Sam, and Big Mike and the HartBeats provided the tunes. The event also featured food trucks and wine and beer tasting.
“You see all races, religions,” said parade staging manager Gina Keydeniers. “It’s all fun. Everyone has a great time.”
For some residents, it was an opportunity to support a community-based event that has drawn tens of thousands of families over the past decade.
“The Rose, White and Blue parade is a great little local parade,” said software engineer Neil Bliss, 45, of San Jose, who attended the event with his wife, Wendy Tran. “You come out, you watch some of the cars, you see some bands. It’s just a fun local thing to do.”
“Who doesn’t like a good parade on the Fourth?” echoed Tran, who was attending for the first time.
“It’s a small local tradition,” said Tran, a 34-year-old office administrator. “There’s not much of that around anymore, so we wanted to come out and support it so that it keeps going.”
Ana Maria Salazar and her husband, Isaac, found their spot at 8 a.m. at the start of the parade on Dana Avenue, ready to watch their granddaughter perform with a folkloric group. The couple, their three children and grandchildren have attended for several years.
“It’s a happy event for our family,” said Ana Maria, 69. “We’re all here.”
Staff writer Sal Pizarro contributed to this report.