Photos | Piedmont celebrates the Fourth of July

Updated July 7

For the 57th time, Piedmont hosted its annual Independence Day parade and festivities in the center of town, starting with a pancake breakfast at Veteran’s Hall and ending with a party in Piedmont Park.

The Fourth kicked off at Veteran’s Hall with the Piedmont Community Service Crew’s pancake breakfast led by Crew students. Pancakes were served from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., ending just in time for Piedmonters to make their way over to Highland Avenue to view the pride of Piedmont’s Fourth of July celebration, the parade. This year’s theme was “Small Town, Big Spirit”.

The Zenith New Orleans Parade Band led by band leader Alan Carr kicked the parade into gear. The group told the Exedra that Zenith had been performing in Piedmont’s parade since the 1970s. Band leader and bass drum player, Hugh O’Donald has been playing with the group for the last 15 years.

Piedmont Post publisher Gray Cathrall served as parade Grand Marshal, riding in a silver 1935 Ford Convertible at the front of the parade order.

The parade included many other floats and spectacles including the always popular “Balloon Platoon” of costumed performers in white suits who have been participating in the parade for over 13 years.

Other musical acts included the Barrelhouse Jazz Band featuring director Al Flood, who played clarinet and saxophone, Margaret McElwain on piano, Art Wood and Joel Jacobsen on trumpet and Chuck McClain on trombone and vocals, who played along the route from the back of a flatbed truck.

Piedmont’s own community band also took part in this year’s parade, made up of volunteer, musically-minded community members who walked the length of the parade route in their white shirts, hats and blue pants.

The last of the musical acts in this year’s parade was the most longstanding tradition of them all, Piedmont’s very own bagpipe band, the Piedmont Highlanders Drums and Pipes. They could be heard performing traditional Scottish pipe songs while dressed in their glengarry hats, kilts and red coats.

As per usual, a wide variety of cars spanning decades were featured in the parade, ranging from a 1912 Ford Model T speedster to a 2020 Range Rover.

Once the parade concluded, a panel of judges including Grand Marshal Gray Cathrall, Mayor Jennifer Cavenaugh, School Board Member Lindsay Thomasson and Parade Chair Kathy Kelleher were tasked with selecting first, second and third place winners for best parade float.

Winner of the first place Highland Cup was Holly Place Neighboorhood’s float, an homage to the former Key System train station. The Key transit line ran behind homes in lower Piedmont from 1924- 1958.

Holly Place Key Line Station Float

The second place Saucer Trophy went to the Piedmont Makers’ float, led by Dave Ragones. Makers includes Piedmont’s highly successful high school-level robotics team that finished in the top 50 in the world this past year, traveling to Houston for the finals of the First Robotics Competition. Their float could be seen featuring both the robotics team’s robot, followed by a large, red figure mounted to a truck bed to promote Piedmont Makers’ Youth Lego League.

Piedmont Makers led by high school robot 8033

The third place Spoon trophy went to the Oakland Strokes’ float which included many Piedmont Middle and High School students wearing the rowing team’s signature orange and green colors. The team recently won big at National Championships — the Mens Youth 4-boat earned the Strokes their 24th national title.

Members of the Oakland Strokes

The Piedmont Baseball and Softball Foundation float featured a massive baseball-shaped balloon which towered over parade-goers.

The parade was not without some political commentary. A float by “Solomon and Friends” showed Donald Trump sitting atop a throne surrounded by reptilian handlers. The group carried signs saying “Trump Legal Defense Fund” and “Trump Sneakers $500”.

One float featured a political satire of Donald Trump

More scenes from the day:

Uncle Sam, Mayor Jen Cavenaugh, and Compass realtor Stacey Isaacs
Premium picnic spots in the shade on the park lawn

One thought on “Photos | Piedmont celebrates the Fourth of July

  1. Many may not know but that bagpiper in the photo is Ellison Dunlap Jr., PHS grad and a reknown bagpiper. He and his family have marched in parade for over twenty years. Senior would be proud.

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