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4th of July Flag and Parade Etiquette

Updated on February 21, 2018
Madison Resare profile image

Madison is a stay-at-home mom and a freelance writer. She received her B.A. in English from BYU-Idaho and she enjoys crafting and baking.

Red, White, and Blue
Red, White, and Blue | Source

4th of July Celebrations

4th of July is coming up quick and for many Americans that means; barbeques, parades, American flags, picnics, water sports, family gatherings, fireworks, and lots of Red, White, and Blue paraphernalia. As an American you will be dealing with many other people when you participate in some of these events such as: parades and fireworks.

When dealing with other people there are usually a set of rules/guidelines that determine the type of etiquette you should observe during a particular event. Most of the time the etiquette for the 4th of July celebrations are not talked about which is why I decided to go over them in this Hub.

Remember, showing etiquette/polite attitude will usually be reciprocated in kind by those you are associating with.

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Fireworks4th of July Fireworks4th of July Fireworks
Fireworks | Source
4th of July Fireworks
4th of July Fireworks | Source
4th of July Fireworks
4th of July Fireworks | Source

Parade and Flag Etiquette

Parade etiquette is important because you want to be sure you, your family, and the people around you enjoy the parade to the fullest extent in a polite/fun/safe way. You get annoyed with the people who let their children run wild and the people who stand right in front of your great view right? Of course you do, so the first step to good parade etiquette is to make sure you do not do these things yourself, do not be a parade rookie hypocrite.

Flag etiquette is about so much more than simply being polite; it is about being respectful of our Country and all that the American Flag represents/stands for. Learn the proper etiquette for handling/seeing the American Flag so that you do not accidentally show disrespect.

Etiquette Rules

  • Space
  • Neighbors
  • Children
  • View Blocking
  • American Flag

Save Your Space

Save Your Space
Save Your Space | Source


Save Your Space: The first rule of parade etiquette is to save your space and to show respect for the space of those around you. Do not expect to get to the parade ten minutes before it starts and find a top-notch space for all your chairs/family/gear (It’s not gonna happen and those who have arrived early are not going to want to squish in order to make room for you.)

Keep Your Space: The second rule is to maintain your well-earned space. DO NOT LEAVE. Be prepared with food, water, sunscreen and everything else you might need so that you do not have to relinquish your spot. Having more than one adult with you will help matters in case you have an emergency and must leave your spot because he or she can save it for you. (Neighbors will probably not be as helpful in the whole saving a spot situation.)

Crowds of People
Crowds of People | Source


Most people will react or respond in the same way that they have been treated, and so the story goes; if you are nice/cordial/polite to your neighbors they will in-turn be nice/cordial/polite to you. This principle is the same whether you are talking about actual next-door neighbors or the neighbors who are sitting next to you during a parade.

Talk to your fellow parade loving neighbors, be polite and make sure they are comfortable. They in turn will do the same for you (most of the time).

Making a Friend

Making a Friend
Making a Friend | Source

Parade Candy

Parade Candy
Parade Candy | Source

Top Parade Rules for Your Kids

  1. Stay near Family Members
  2. Keep one arm/leg/foot on the sidewalk when reaching for candy (unless otherwise notified by a parent)
  3. No pushing
  4. No shoving
  5. No stealing other children's candy
  6. No running after pieces of candy in the road


One of my absolute favorite parts about going to a parade, as a child and now, is getting free candy thrown right at your feet. Though candy being thrown is more fun for the kids, as an adult I now love watching the children squeal with delight as the candy is thrown to them.

This part of the parade is a double edged sword for me however because though I love watching them have fun picking up candy; watching children push, shove, and run into the street in order to acquire every last piece of candy is stressful to watch (even when none of the children are mine!) One of the top pieces of etiquette that needs to be observed during parades is for parents to be aware of and in control of their children.

Being aware of and in control (in my opinion) does not mean keeping your children on leashes or making them hold your hand for the duration of the parade. I simply mean going over the rules of parades with your children and reprimanding them when they break those rules before someone else does (like the nearby policeman).

What parade rules should you have for your children? To the right is a list of a few parade rules to keep them safe and happy and to keep you sane.

Firework Rules/Safety Regulations

View Blocking

Though many would see this as common sense and common courtesy, it happens ALL THE TIME especially during big events, like a parade. Practice common courtesy and etiquette by not being one of those morons who stands in front of everyone’s line of sight. Simply look around and be aware of your surroundings, are you preventing someone else from seeing the parade? Moving over a smidge won’t kill you.

American Flag

American Flag
American Flag | Source

American Flag

When it comes to the American flag etiquette is extremely important to know and understand so that you do not inadvertently show disrespect. Here are some rules/tips/guidelines to follow when it comes to handling and seeing the American Flag:

  • The first sighting of the American flag in a parade should be shown respect by removing hats and putting hands on hearts as it passes by.
  • If you are carrying the flag it should be out in front of you, carried straight up and down (never dip the flag).
  • Do not drape an American flag over the hood or sides of a vehicle or a parade float.
  • The flag should only be displayed on a parade float if it’s on a pole so that it can fly freely.

Supplies You Need for Different 4th of July Events

Park Fun
Plates, cups, plastic utensils
Picnic supplies
Blanket to lie on
Comfortable fold-out chairs
Blankets to use in case it gets cold
Candy bags for the kids
Water guns/water balloons
Grill (unless provided)
Games (to play while waiting for dark)
Water bottles
Blanket for picnic
Comfy fold-out chairs
Sides (salad, chips)
Bug spray
Games/water guns/water balloons

© 2014 Maddi


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