Today’s Carnation Festival Grand Parade steps off from Alliance First Friends Church on West State Street and Fernwood Boulevard and ends at Union Avenue and Broadway Street. From start to end it lasts about 2 hours and begins at 11 a.m. But this wasn’t always the case.
The first Carnation Festival was held June 27 to July 2,1960, with the grand parade on June 29, 1960. The Alliance Review of June 29, 1960 declared “Biggest Parade in Decade Will Move Thursday. The Carnation Festival Parade, biggest and best since the centennial celebration a decade ago, will make a four-mile tour of the city, Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m.”
Twenty-two decorated floats and five area bands participated and the newly crowned Carnation Queen Pat Novellino and attendants Bonnie Moore and Ann Daskalov made their formal bow to the city. The first parade chairman was Paul Cook.
The route began at the College Plaza on the east end of State Street, proceeded west to Mount Union Square, turned north on South Union Avenue, headed east on Main Street and ended at the Viaduct. It was dark by the end of the parade!
As Days in the Park became more popular, the parade time was shifted to 3 p.m. in 1981 and today is 11 a.m. Also in 1981, the parade route was changed to begin on West State Street and Fernwood Avenue and end at Union Avenue and Main Street. Today, the parade ends at Broadway Street.
For parade pictures, visit Alliance Memory.