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The Arlington Independence Day Parade history and activities to do after

As the longest-running event in Arlington, the Arlington Independence Day Parade has brought up to 75,000 spectators some years. The 59th annual parade will also bring thousands of visitors at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 4. Downtown Arlington is proudly the hub of this historic tradition!

The parade was started in 1965 by Arlington resident Dottie Lynn and Church Women United. In the beginning, it was composed of mostly children on decorated bicycles, pedaling around Randol Mill Park with an impromptu kazoo band playing a rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The event quickly outgrew the small park path and overtime evolved into a two-mile, highly anticipated, curb-to-curb sea of red, white and blue with more than 100 entries. The current route rolls through downtown Arlington and UTA’s College Park District to the beat of patriotic music played by musical entries, including all six Arlington high schools.

Professional floats alongside small entries designed and created by businesses, churches, organizations, and youth groups are part of the event. The Knights of Columbus hold the record for having been in all 57 annual parades. Many spectators claim to have seen all 57 parades, and some camp on the route the night before to ensure they have a good place to view the two-hour patriotic parade.

Homeowners along the route have a tradition of hosting parade parties on their porches and lawns. One senior citizen, who says she has seen every parade but one, rents her former home on Center Street but requires renters to allow her to sit on the front porch once a year solely for the parade.

Whether you are five or 95, the parade is an exciting, patriotic event for all ages and a signature event that makes Downtown Arlington a destination for July 4th!

And After?

While thousands of parade attendees head back to their cars and attempt to leave at the same time, we have some ideas on how to spend your time downtown waiting for traffic to wind down just a short walk away from the parade route.

Grab a bite

Binions Ice House will offer a parade brunch menu starting at 9 a.m. This special menu includes French toast, country breakfast, biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak and an eggs-any-style meal.

Downtown is home to the famous Hurtado Barbecue's first brick and mortar location on Front Street. Head over to enjoy some incredible "Mexicue" in the AC! They will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Or if you plan on sticking around all day, Old-School Pizza Tavern will have a special pizza, the All-American Pulled Pork 4th of July Pizza, available from 7 to 9:15 p.m. The pizza will include pulled pork, red onions, bacon, three cheeses and feature barbecue sauce from Hurtado Barbecue.

Do some shopping

The Mosaic Market on West Street will be holding their grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 4. This is more than a store; it’s a community hub for creativity and connection. The market’s mission is to bring a smile to each customer’s face with unique pieces while supporting local artisans and small businesses. Pieces from another local store, Wondrous Works Gift Shop, can be found throughout the market, including hand-crafted wooden mugs, goblets and charcuterie boards!

The Cultures Commodities is a vintage and trendy streetwear shop. The store offers a wide array of sought-after sneakers, stylish clothing and vintage pieces. The goal at Commodities is to strengthen the social fabric of downtown Arlington by attracting a diverse range of demographics and consumers to visit their shop and others in the area.

Enjoy public art

Take a stroll to the Mineral Well Public Plaza for a family photo! The history of Arlington’s historic Mineral Well dates to the 19th century when it originally operated. When the Mineral Well was paved over in 1951, the Arlington community was disheartened to see the popular landmark disappear. However, fast forward to today, the new plaza, located between City Hall and George W. Hawkes Library, features an architectural clock tower, water features, seating areas, and sculptural elements memorializing the well’s history.

Enjoy our self-guided Mural Tour in downtown! With all the vibrant murals scaling the walls of our community, there is sure to be art around every corner. As you make your way around downtown, take a picture with each you see!