Climb Aboard the Elks Fourth of July Parade

Carmichael, CA (MPG)  |  Story by Jacqueline Fox
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You can plan your float or parade entry so you can “Clown Around” with friends and neighbors in the annual parade. -- MPG file photo

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Each year presents many interesting local entries. -- MPG file photo

Now Accepting Sponsorships and Float Applications

The Carmichael Elks Lodge is calling for applications for sponsorships and float entries for what is arguably one of the highest-attended Independence Day parades and celebrations in the region.
The Elks 59th Fourth of July Parade delivers everything you’d want or expect in a parade: vintage car clubs, fancy horses, marching bands, princesses doing the light-bulb wave, and, how cool is this, the one day a year you get to sleep on Carmichael’s main drag without fear of getting a trespassing ticket. And floats, plenty of floats, each representing area businesses and community service organizations and clubs.

“It’s such an uplifting, red, white and blue feeling, and I don’t mean that it’s political, because it isn’t. This parade is for everybody,” said Elks Lodge Secretary, Jim Warrick who oversees the annual production.

More than 10,000 spectators are anticipated to attend this year’s parade, themed Proud to Be An American.   Thousands of them will be in lawn chairs and sleeping bags the night before, camping out for a good seat on the two-mile route, which begins at Marconi Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard, and terminates at Cypress and Manzanita avenues.

The parade was started by Warrick’s father, Barnie, a former charter member of the Elks Lodge and an event promotor. As the younger Warrick puts it, the club was new and his dad was charged with organizing its first community event.  When Warrick Sr. found out about a family from Carmichael getting into a car accident on their way to a 4th of July event that previous year, he came up with the idea for a parade with the hope of convincing locals to stay close to home on Independence Day.

“That story really touched my dad,” said Warrick, who added that he was in the first parade (and many since). “I was 10 years old. I was there. It’s a great tradition and, although dad passed away in 1982, the tradition lives on.”

This year’s Grand Marshall is Allan Davis. He and his late wife, Nancy Emerson-Davis are behind the development of the rapidly expanding Milagro Centre on Fair Oaks Boulevard, and other successful projects in the area. Emerson- Davis was the daughter of the late Sacramento developer, Joe Benvenuti who is credited for establishing the developmental footprint for much of the capital region.

 “Allan personifies the desire to enhance our community,” Warrick said. “He’s chosen to make Carmichael a better place.”

“I’m very excited to be selected as this year’s grand marshal,” said Davis. “This is a terrific community event and I would encourage anyone with a business to sign up to participate in it with me. The Elks club relies on the support of sponsors to put this amazing, free event on every year.”

Sponsorships are critical, as the entire costs for the parade, as well as the after party hosted by the Elks Club, run close to $3,000, which includes fees for marketing, insurance, payments to the Highway Patrol to cover road closures, food for the party, payment to the band, and much more.

A $100 Gold-level sponsorships includes what Warrick called “a prestigious front of the parade position in a classic car.”  There also are $50 and $20 sponsorship level options available.  All sponsors will be recognized in marketing collateral for the event, the Elks and event Facebook pages and day of speeches. Local TV media and print coverage are anticipated again this year.

The Elks Lodge party includes a barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs and “Elks beans,” which Warrick says are as much a parade tradition as the floats and vintage Cadillacs. The Elks Lodge swimming pool also will be open and there will be a children’s play area.  The Crystal Image Band returns to the main hall to rock the party prior to fireworks at dusk.

“This band is just fantastic,” says Warrick. “They’ve played this event many times and we’re thrilled to have them back.”

Carmichael Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Linda Melody will be announcing the parade again this year. She also is encouraging the business community to sponsor the event, consider getting their float on, or both.

“This is my second year announcing the parade and it’s so exciting to be able to do that,” Melody said. “It’s such a great community gathering of our local businesses and service organizations, not to mention all of the attendees. It really is an event not to be missed.”
    
For 59th Annual Elks Club Parade sponsorship and float registration call: Jim Warrick at (916) 479-2103 or e-mail: jdwarrick@lanset.com