Baton Rouge’s Independence Day Parade sponsored by the Kenilworth Civic Association
Come celebrate our nation’s birthday at the parade and join us for one of Baton Rouge’s premier Independence Day events! The parade features military and civic groups, bagpipers, antique cars, buggies, elected officials, horse groups, and more!
In 1973, a small group of Kenilworth residents gathered on riding lawnmowers and bicycles to form a parade. Charlie Ross, Glenn Adams, Jack Conran, Margaret Mascarella, Bob Meyer, and Jerry Juneau were in that group that rode around the original part of the neighborhood, around Bromley and Kenilworth, offering neighbors a cold beer from a keg on a trailer. Neighborhood residents and their children followed playing musical instruments, ranging from trumpets to jugs.
The parade expanded in the bicentennial year of 1976, with real floats for the first time. This was before Kenilworth was extended down to Perkins, and not even Boone led out of the neighborhood back then. Mayor Woody Dumas rode in the parade, starting the tradition of the Baton Rouge Mayor helping to lead the parade.
Neighborhood children of all ages constituted the “bike brigade” during the first about 20 years of the parade. We attempted to revive this for a couple of years around 2012, including getting a big group of Xtreme bikers from the BREC Perkins Road park one year. The parade has grown tremendously over the years. Now there are around 50 entries in the parade each year, and several thousand spectators gather to enjoy the parade.
For many years, KCA sponsored a picnic on the grounds of the Kenilworth Club midday after the parade. Tom Varnado would set up his indian tepee at the Kenilworth School staging grounds and move it during the parade to the picnic area. Hot air balloons would be staked at the school lawn and lift off 50 feet into the air, giving neighborhood kids a ride and a thrill.
The parade started honoring the Kenilworth Resident of the Year and having a parade Grand Marshal in the late 1990’s.
Long time Kenilworth resident Linda Frederick, a local realtor, has sponsored the placement of flags in front of all neighborhood homes for the 4th for many years.
The parade switched from the morning of the 4th to the evening of the 3rd for a Katrina fundraiser for St.Bernard Parish Schools in 2006. Everyone enjoyed parading in the cooler evening weather and out of the scorching sun, and the parade now rolls the evening of July 3 every year.
Come join us on July 3 to celebrate our nation’s independence.
2015 Theme: “Let Freedom Ring”
2015 Kenilworth Resident of the Year: Linda Fredericks
2015 Grand Marshal: Jerry Stovall, President & CEO of Baton Rouge Sports Foundation and former LSU head football coach.
Contact the KCA through Parade@KenilworthNeighborhood.com if your civic and/or patriotic group is interested in being part of the parade. Family floats are welcome.