The history of 30A's Fourth of July parade

Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM.

Seaside was the reason for the traffic. More than a “planned community,” its founder, Robert Davis, had set out to create a “real town” with the sort of residents and amenities found in communities that were older and long established. What he created in the process was a tourist attraction that brought in people by the score, people who shopped at Seaside shops, ate at Seaside eateries, and took part in Seaside events, like a Fourth of July parade.

Now Seaside’s parade participation was not entirely about getting consuming consumers out and buying on a holiday morning. Undergirding Davis’s design was the belief that “real towns” had aspects, institutions and activities that bonded residents (in this case visitors and potential buyers) to the community — parks, a school, a church, concerts, plays, and ceremonies like a Fourth of July Parade. It was what a “real town” did.

So Seaside did it.

And since Seaside’s own piece of 30A was too short for a real parade, it joined neighboring Seagrove.

As the 1980s passed away and the 1990s arrived, Seaside began to bring order and organization to the event, so much order and organization that by July 4, 1994, I could hardly believe what had taken place.

The Sheriff’s Department sent officers to close the road and direct traffic, the Fire Department offered an engine to lead the way and another to bring up the rear.  There were bands and a color guard. Businesses, especially those in Seaside, entered floats, and awards were handed out for the most “creative.” Local churches put cute kids with Vacation Bible School t-shirts on flat-beds, politicians rode in closed cars in case someone wanted to dash out from the crowd and ask why the storm drains were clogged or why taxes kept going up, and paraders threw candy and trinkets and beads.

However the old, laid back, improvisational was not easily elbowed out by the upscale and organized. 

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