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Independence Day Celebration

2023 Theme: Star Spangled Summer

On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem. Star Spangled Summer encompasses all that our Independence Day Holiday inspires: the red, white and blue decorations, the sounds of a parade and fireworks show, the feeling of community, the warmth of summertime, and the spirit of patriotism.


Parade steps off at 10A on July 4

Map image links to Race Route Map PDF file

Interested in entering a parade entry?

Join Wheaton’s 2023 Independence Day Parade and honor our country’s independence!

Capture the spirit of this year’s theme by celebrating a Star Spangled Summer. Be creative, be inspired, and design your float with these ideas in mind and together we will commemorate the holiday with a parade that honors the essence of 4th of July.

For your entry, display your patriotic spirit and show how the theme most resonates with you this year, perhaps a celebration of a new business, reopening your doors, honoring our nations freedom, or simply celebrating our “town.” All entries will be judged at the viewing stand on Front Street.

Parade route subject to change.

The parade happens rain or shine! Entry fees are non-refundable.

  • All vehicles must be decorated appropriately for the July 4th holiday.
  • Passing out of items including but not limited to candy, flyers, giveaways, must be handed out and not thrown.
  • All participants must walk with their group or be in a vehicle/tow float. The number of walkers per entry is limited and must be approved in advance. One (1) vehicle or (1) tow float per entry.
  • Floats or vehicles should be no wider than ten feet, no longer than forty feet, and no taller than 13 feet from the ground. However, the float should be constructed so it can fit under tree branches, traffic lights, telephone, and electrical wires along the parade route and in a way that it is able to make all required turns on the parade route, as well as navigate inside staging areas.
  • Water guns or super soakers are not permitted.
  • Parade marshals will be present along the parade to ensure safety and to keep the parade moving. You are required to follow their instructions. Please be respectful of these volunteers and the police who will be assisting them.
  • The Wheaton Park District is not responsible for any of your entry’s actions.
  • Your participation is contingent upon the receipt of your signed entry form and the appropriate payment.

Please inform all of your participants of these rules. These rules have been based on community feedback. It is strongly suggested that your entry follow the spirit of these rules and not try to work around them in order to be fair to all entries. If your entry pushes the limits of these rules, your constituents will assume that the rules have been broken.

The Wheaton Park District reserves the right for all group placement and lineup in the parade. Our intent is for participants and spectators alike to have fun and enjoy the event!

  • Most Patriotic | Symbolizes America and the Fourth of July
  • Best Youth Group | Best entry from participants under 16 yrs. old
  • Best Nonprofit (includes churches) | Best entry from a nonprofit organization
  • Best Neighborhood | Best entry by a Wheaton neighborhood
  • Carlsons’ Best of Show | Overall best entry/ float
  • Mayor’s Spirit | Best representation of Wheaton
  • Best Musical  | Best entry performing music
  • Bart Loiacono Most Creative | A creative idea brought to fruition
  • Best Use of Theme: Star Spangled Summer | Demonstrates best use of current parade theme
  • Go Green | Best use of recycled or repurposed materials
  • Best Political | A political entry that entertains or is patriotic

Honorariums are not eligible for awards.


Please contact Kim Prazak at


2022 Parade Image Gallery

Photos © Art Cigoy

Videos by City of Wheaton



Please contact Kim Prazak, Assistant to Director of Special Facilities at

Sponsorship Opportunities

Please contact Margie Wilhelmi, Director of Marketing at

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PHOTO RELEASE: The Wheaton Park District, its partners, approved volunteers and vendors may take photographs or videos of participants for promoting our programs, services, events, activities, and facilities in our brochures, website or agency social media, etc. By participating in or attending any Wheaton Park District activities the participant (or parent/guardian of a minor participant) agrees to the use and distribution of his or her image (or images of a minor child/ward) in photographs, video recordings, and any other electronic reproductions of such activities for any purpose without inspection, compensation, or any other consideration now and in the future.
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