History of the Parade
The idea for a holiday celebration in Redwood City was formulated back in 1939 in the minds of Ole Olson, a car dealer, Walt Maloney, a butcher, and Charles Holt, a real estate agent. They felt that people shouldn't have to leave town to celebrate the Fourth of July, America's most important holiday. This was the beginning of what is now known as the Peninsula Celebration Association.
The Peninsula Celebration Association consisted of representatives of all local community service organizations which cared to participate. First, there was a carnival that was later combined with a rodeo. A huge parade was formed of local and out of town units, with the cowboys bringing up the rear. When the rodeo and carnival were abandoned because other equestrian organizations in the community were having rodeos and junior rodeos on the Fourth, the Peninsula Celebration Association decided to concentrate on the Fourth of July Parade, the Miss Redwood City pageant and Children's Christmas parade.
All of these activities have been under the supervision of a volunteer set of officers and a board of directors. Over the years many prominent persons from Redwood City have served on the board of directors of the Peninsula Celebration Association.
When the Peninsula Celebration Association was reorganized in 1946 under the presidency of Francis Britschgi, two representatives from each local service organization that decided to participate served on the board of directors.
Some years ago the Peninsula Celebration Association purchased the land on which the rodeos were conducted. In the mid-sixties, when the land was being hemmed in by commercial and industrial development the Peninsula Celebration Association agreed to sell the land for development as a Motor City. The proceeds from the sale, now carefully invested by Peninsula Celebration Association Foundation board, produce interest income towards financing the Fourth of July Celebration which consists of a parade, festival, fireworks and the pageant. The Peninsula Celebration Association also receives product donations from local businesses for the day of the celebration.
The Fourth of July Parade is an invitational parade. Entries in the parade are screened by a committee. About 200 entries are accepted into the parade which is divided into five divisions. Careful consideration is given to parade order so that floats, bands, horse units, and individual participation is carefully spread out for utmost viewing.
It is only logical that the county seat of Redwood City should be a parade capital. The first one conducted there occurred on July 4th, 1887, when outside the old courthouse, there was 38 gun salute that put into motion the Redwood City Brass Band and marching units of the Knights of Pythias. And that was 23 years before they even got around to paving the streets in downtown Redwood City.
We are proud that the members of our organization have operated the Peninsula Celebration Association since 1939 as a true volunteer group. our goal is to help make our city not just a place to live, but a real community of people who care!!