STRONGSVILLE – A parade is a perfect way to show off hometown pride and spirit and is the fitting kick-off of the Strongsville Homecoming Festival.

The annual Homecoming Parade, a tradition dating back 46 years, steps off at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 17.

The parade route begins at Progress Drive, travels south on Pearl Road and turns east at Westwood Drive. All marchers and vehicles will continue on to the Strongsville Recreation Center parking lot.

As always, the parade will include more than 100 displays showcasing all the things that make Strongsville home: civic organizations, clubs, the police and fire departments, businesses and city and regional officials.

Not to toot their horn, but the Strongsville High School Marching Mustangs are always a main attraction.

The hope is that the community will make some noise too by lining the route in green and white as a festive tie in to the “Hometown Pride” theme.

“Every year, we give it a theme to keep it interesting,” said Charlie Goss, Strongsville safety director and Strongsville Chamber of Commerce parade chairman.

There are some things the public should be aware of to ensure the parade steps off on the right foot.

All participants in the parade must enter from Westwood and Alameda Drive to their staging area. There will be no drop offs at Pearl and Progress. Police will restrict traffic on Pearl between Westwood and Albion prior to the parade’s start.

As for parade spectators, there are no designated parking areas. The Strongsville Recreation and Senior Center and the nearby ball fields are suggested parking spots because vehicles will be able to exit out onto state Route 82. There will be shuttles that run between the Commons and rec center.

Anyone parking off Pearl should note that they will be there for the duration of the parade due to the road closure, so those parking at the Strongsville Middle School should keep this in mind. Those picking up parade participants are encouraged to do so in the parking lot of the rec center.

Large commercial vehicles will be allowed to proceed south on Pearl when exiting the parade at the discretion of the Strongsville Police Department and Chamber of Commerce.

The Strongsville Homecoming parade is meant to put the hometown pride on display but safely.

Candy, food items or materials of any kind may not be distributed from any car, truck or vehicle for the safety of children attending the parade. Parade participants planning to distribute candy or other permissible items must use individuals walking at a safe distance from vehicles to provide treats or items curbside.

“Kids’ attention can get diverted from their safety. Our No. 1 concern is pedestrian safety,” Goss said.

Yellow caution tape, and in some instances, gates will be utilized to keep children at a safe distance. City safety forces and parade volunteers will be constantly sweeping the route to ensure the safety of guests.

Goss said the fun will come naturally, but safety forces are asking parade goers to be a partner in making sure safety comes naturally, too.

“Really, our focus is on the safety. Fun comes naturally at a parade or event and, in our city, it seems to go to the next level, but our focus is to make sure it is done safely, and we ask everyone to be a partner in that,” he said. “If you see something that looks suspicious or unsafe, we ask that you let someone in a uniform know. We will have police, fire, EMS, CERT and our parade marshals, and we all have radio communication.”

If anyone is interested in volunteering as a parade marshal, he or she can contact the Chamber of Commerce at 440-238-3366. Duties include assisting with helping line up the parade units and walking the parade route at the curb. Parade organizers would like one marshal for every 10 units.

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