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Falcon Woods 30th annual parade
In 1984, which was the first year of the first Falcon Woods 4th of July parade, I moved into a new housing development in Falcon Heights called “Falcon Woods” with my family. After talking to a few other neighbors, I thought it might be fun to have a neighborhood 4th of July parade and get the kids involved.
The idea for this parade was not an original concept, but came from my childhood. When I was eleven years old, I started a parade on Oxford Street in Roseville with my girlfriend. We had an old Model T Ford driven by our county commissioner at the time, Ted Salverda. We even had a couple of horses (no restrictions in 1962) prance down the four-block area. Those parades led to many great memories which I wanted to pass onto my own children. The concept then is the same as it is now: to get people to come out of their homes and meet each other.
The wonderful Falcon Heights City Hall has been instrumental in helping us each year in arranging volunteer policemen and firemen to bring their police cars and fire engines with sirens a-blazing to lead the parade. The route encompasses about a four-block area in our cul-de-sac, which only takes about 20 minutes to complete. After the parade, the men in uniform talk with the kids and families. Some officers even give the children a view of the inside of their patrol cars and show them the instrument panels. Our remarkable firefighters also show the kids different functions on their trucks and have on special occasion given a demonstration on the operation of the fire engine extension ladder--a surefire way to win any child’s heart for a lifetime.
Neighbors bring snacks and goodies to share with everyone. It seems to work well as people get to know each other and can recognize a stranger in the neighborhood--thus no crime to be told.
After handling the parade for the first twelve years, I decided to pass the baton so others could carry on the tradition. The host gets to choose where the parade will begin. It seems to work well, and people look forward to it annually.
Thirty years later, I still believe that it is invaluable to know your neighbors. There are so many benefits that can be gained--pet sitting, keeping an eye on a house while a neighbor is on vacation, networking, exchanging recipes, borrowing a tool, etc. Falcon Woods is a special neighborhood because of this unique event. In fact, one of our realtors even notes our parade in her flyers when she is selling houses in Falcon Woods. Now that is something to be proud of!
--submitted by Linda Barnes, Falcon Heights resident
[Editor’s note: This year’s Falcon Woods Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 4, around 1828-1837 Moore St. The city encourages attendees to decorate a bike or wagon, and stay for food afterward.]