Thousands of visitors from throughout the Bay Area gathered in downtown Danville on Thursday morning to watch a procession of more than 100 floats in the annual Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley Independence Day Parade.
For more than 40 years, the Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley has coordinated the parade, and throughout all of those years, families continue to come out and celebrate community and the birth of the United States.
“We have a tradition we come out every year. This is our ‘umpteenth’ year coming. We find our spot, put our pillows down and watch the parade together as a father and daughter,” said Danville local Tom Clements, who attended with his daughter, Makenna. “I think it's really eclectic and that's what makes it pretty special. The patriotic part is really sweet and again the young kids and families getting into the parade is just really sweet.”
“We always look forward to the military commemorations and the (aerial) flyovers when they happen,” Makenna added.
This year’s parade was marshaled by the American Legion Mt. Diablo Post 246 in honor of the American Legion’s 100th anniversary, and included a huge variety of floats. The procession consisted of a military marching band playing patriotic music, local sports teams throwing candy into the crowd, local companies on decorated floats, veterans and their families marching with heads held high, military vehicles such as jeeps and a Vietnam War-era helicopter, dance troupes, packs of dogs alongside their human companions, and a mix match of many other residents and groups marching through downtown Danville.
Large numbers of Girl and Boy Scouts of all ages could also be found marching in the parade, holding American flags and proudly representing their various troupes.
While the parade went by, stunt planes could be seen flying overhead throughout the event, flying in tight formations and performing stunning aerial acrobatics.
Public officials aplenty could also be found waving to crowds in the back of convertibles or walking and interacting with residents.
Local U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier and State Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan could be seen handing out candy to kids and trading high-fives with constituents, as well as State Senator Steve Glazer and County Supervisor Candace Andersen who rode by in their vehicles.
Danville Mayor Robert Storer and each of his fellow council members were also present in the parade, waving American flags and cheering with their fellow residents.
Residents arrived early to pick out their spots, some tying down chairs to reserve an area the night before, through their own experience with the parade the Clementses had their own strategy for finding a prime parade-watching spot.
“We do this every year where we come an hour before and we sneak in with these pillows and we just find a spot in between people that have been waiting all night,” Makenna said with a laugh.
Every year the parade is sponsored by the San Ramon Valley Kiwanis Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the region’s communities through various volunteer projects and events, such as the Danville parade, and through offering small grants to organizations in need.