A birthday party on San Jose’s Streets

July 4th parade

Another Fourth of July came and went. This time we put the (US) national holiday to good use by attending a traditional Fourth of July Parade. We looked up the events happening in the South Bay (area) and narrowed it down to the one in San Jose (CA) conducted by the Alameda Business Association. This one, called the Rose, White and Blue Parade started near San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden and passed through Dana Street, University Avenue and Morse Street before it culminated on The Alameda.

This July 4th parade was to start and 10 am so we tried to shake the holiday laziness away and rush to the Parade route before  it began, lest we get lost in the sidewalk crowds like it happened at the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco earlier this year. We got there around 9:30, just as the first few spectators were settling down. We found ourselves a nice place below a cherry tree on Dana Street near the Rose Garden and before we knew it, the roadsides were flooded with people in red, white and blue outfits, American flags, and caps and scarves with the American flag designs on them. It seemed like the whole of San Jose was out there calling out to each other, shaking hands and wishing “Happy Fourth of July.” With all the meeting and greeting and excited voices of little children, I thought the festivity was as its height and I was wrong.

July 4th parade

The Rose, White and Blue Parade came along and the sounds of the celebration went further up with music, clapping and cheering. It really was USA’s ‘Happy’ Birthday. There was marching and dancing and singing. There were musical instruments, floats and vintage cars. There were fire engines, military vehicles and electric cars. There were girls doing stunts on Roller skates, Karate Kids and Hula Dancers. There was an Elvis in Patriotic colours, characters from Little Mermaid, Sharkie,* Danny the Dragon from Happy Hollow, Abe Lincoln(s) and even a person dressed as a Peet’s Coffee cup.  There were dogs and horses and guinea pigs too as part of the parade.

So what if the Capital of Silicon Valley does not have an official city-sponsored Rose, July 4th parade? This one was almost one. Mayor Chuck Reed and his wife were there, the Police Chief was there and so was Dan Ashley of ABC7 News. It was nice to see him off my television screen and on the streets of San Jose, for a change.

That apart, there were San Jose Fire Trucks, a vehicle from the San Jose Fire Museum, a whole lot of electric cars (it seemed like absolute quiet when these came along after the noisy honking of the vintage cars). An hour and a half later, the last of Rose, White and Blue Parade passed by where we sat, with a display of Military Vehicles.

That was a Fourth of July, well spent.

July 4th parade
A representation of the communities of the far east.
July 4th parade
Vintage Cars
Rose, White and Blue Parade / July 4th parade
*Sharkie, the official mascot of  the San Jose Sharks
Rose, White and Blue Parade / July 4th parade
Rose, White and Blue Parade / July 4th parade
Little Shasta Ladies’ Literary Society, celebrating American Literature.
Rose, White and Blue Parade / July 4th parade
More antique vehicles.
Rose, White and Blue Parade / July 4th parade
Ursula and Ariel from Little Mermaid
Rose, White and Blue Parade / July 4th parade
Hula Dancers
Rose, White and Blue Parade / July 4th parade
Top: Mayor of San Jose, Chuck Reed. Below: Dan Ashley of ABC7 News


Rose, White and Blue Parade began in 2008 and had around 250 participants and 1000 onlookers that year, according to San Jose Mercury News.
The Rose, White and Blue Parade is an attempt to revive the Rose Parades that San Jose was known for in the 19th and early 20th century.
The fifth edition of the Parade (2012) had as many as 135 decorated vehicles, 13 floats and around 25,000 Visitors.
This year the parade kick started at Lincoln High School and went down Dana Street towards University Avenue and Morse Street and ended on The Alameda.


You might want to visit:
San Jose’s Rose Garden (also awarded America’s best Rose Garden in 2010. Read about it here)
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  1. Nice pics! I was always scared of the crowds and chaos in the parades. Looks like you made the most of the occasion.

    • Thanks Rachna, this was a nice, civil crowd. The SF Chinese New Year Parade was much bigger than this but it wasn't a crazy one. There were a lot of families and little kids.
      Oh yes, made the most of it. 🙂 It was my first 'Fourth parade.'

  2. Thank you Divya for showing me this riot of colors through your fabulous post:)

  3. Wow! That is a spectacular series! You're having a gala time! 😀

    • I'm trying to have a good time. :). My little one is not too small for crowds now, so we thought we'd show him this one. We hadn't been to a Fourth of July Parade either.

  4. Lovely celebrations to celebrate the Bday of Big B:)The pictures and write up captured the spirit perfectly, Divya:)

  5. So much of fun!!
    Lovely captures of the celebrations!!

  6. seems like you are enjoying …have fun !!!! lovely pics.. full of life and energy !

  7. Nice pics Divya . The vintage cars look cute . Were there any fireworks ?

    • Hey Jaish,
      The vintage cars were really so damn cute. I wish I could put all the pictures I have. There were so many vintage cars, and each one was unique. I can't help saying they had some absolutely weird-sounding horns. They sounded like grunts and this was a great opportunity for those car owners to honk away and they made the most of it. It was fun though.
      And later on when the noiseless electric cars came by, it just felt so quiet.
      There were no fireworks as part of this particular event. We thought we'd go catch some at another place, but that didn't happen :(. But we got to see some from afar. 🙂

  8. lovely pictures showcasing the grand celebration of American happy bday :)…..luvd it

  9. almost everyday you attend one event :D. good for us. we get to see so many colors, so much fun stuffs and we read about these events. you are having fun!!!!

    • Everyday? haha! I wish!! 🙂
      It's such a pleasure to record these events and share them with you guys, Deb.

      I'm trying to have all the fun I can, when I can :D.

  10. Nice,colorful,charming characters in the parade. Loved the vintage beauties. Another day of fun,games & food ! Is it an Elvis Presley clone in pic 1?

  11. Ahha! San Jose – where you can pick oranges for breakfast straight from the trees in your backyard.

    It's a beautiful city, in US's most beautiful state.

  12. nice to see those vintage cars and images

  13. Nice photos, crisp and clear.

  14. Divya thanks a lot for giving this wonderful peek into an event so far away.

  15. beautiful picsss.. I mised wishing you happy 4th of july …

    did you have fun at the parade , One day I will have to come over to see the parade ..

    Open letter to all Indians-Bikram's

    • he hee! no issues, I'll take it now. I did have a happy Fourth. I'm glad that this time, we didn't take it as just another holiday. This was a Fourth of July 'properly spent'. That was a lot of fun, Bikram.

      How were the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. They looked really grand — the little bit that I saw on TV.

  16. Beautiful, the event looks like so much of fun! Loved the virtual tour, thank you so much for sharing it here 🙂

  17. Great photos, D!!! I have not attended any such parades–really miss having not seen one…love the literary women's dresses–looks so elegant..and there is one woman in your far east pic who looks almost like Imelda Marcos:)
    Must have been so much fun. The fireworks was in the night right–was there celebrations around that too?

    • Thank you dear Bhavana. You found time to come here in the middle of all that travelling? 🙂 I'm honoured. 🙂
      Don't worry, I'll take you to more parades and fairs and all kinds of crazy and interesting events. 🙂
      Yeah, they look lovely. There was no firework at this particular event. Next year we'll have to squeeze into some firework show. If you want to catch some firework, try the Mysore Dasara programmes in Bannimantap. I hope they still have that grand firework.

  18. The life time opportunity indeed. All of these posts are worthy having some standards.
    Great job!

    More jobs available at Indian Job Vacancies at http://www.indianjobsguide.com

  19. What bright, colorful pictures..! Love them all <3

  20. wow! what a colorful event!

  21. Top of the range, very beautiful and lovely photos.

  22. Divya, Wonder, how I missed reading this! What a spectacular parade….you must have had fun!Lovely pics! Thanks for this treat..!!

  23. Nice to see the colorful celebration through your eyes D…Lovely pictures.

  24. Lovely pics and looks like loads of fun. Loved the classic cars. Would just love to photograph them and make a collage from them….
    Awesome, thanks for sharing…

    • The cars stole the show, Santosh.
      I'm sure you'd have loved to photograph them. And knowing your work, you'd have done such a great job.
      Thank You. 🙂

  25. Ah! This one looks like a boringly-sober Mardi Gras 🙂

    Love the Vintage cars though.

  26. It's a lovely tradition. We're all too busy, doing god knows what.

  27. Pingback: Pixar Play Parade: Faces and Floats | Tipsy from the TRIP

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