After Mother Nature rained on their parades in 2018, West University and Bellaire are hoping to return full force to traditional festive Fourth of July activities Thursday — signature events that contribute to both cities’ reputation for old-fashioned, small-town living.
West University’s Independence Day Bike Parade lines up at 8:45 a.m., then launches from in front of City Hall, 3800 University Blvd., at 9 a.m. full of families, scouts, civic groups — including the Rotary Club’s spirited kazoo band — and plenty of red, white and blue. Marchers are encouraged to decorate themselves and bikes, trikes, strollers, wagons.
The procession heads west on University with a left at Academy to Colonial Park Pool, 4130 Byron St., where admission is free festivities and games run until noon. (The pool remains open until 6 p.m.) Among the annual highlights: the Dads’ Belly Flop contest, the youngsters’ Money Dive, face painting and balloons.
Hamburgers, hotdogs and beverages are provided by Rotary members to raise funds for the Challenger Division of the West University Little League.
Bellaire’s Independence Day kicks off with a children’s procession and the main parade featuring 75 entries including bands, floats, scouts, government officials and office-seekers, religious groups and classic vehicles.
Lineup for parade participants begins at 8:45 a.m. in the parking lot at South Rice and Bellaire for the children’s parade, which is co-sponsored by the Bellaire Optimist Club. Youngsters are encouraged to decorate bikes, tricycles and wagons come in costume, and walk, ride or skate to lead the festivities promptly at 9:30, along with parents alongside or pushing strollers. Participants can walk the length of South Rice and Jessamine or veer off along the way to watch the rest of the procession pass by.
This year’s “big parade” will launch at 9:30 a.m. from the Bellaire Triangle at Mapleridge, heading east on Bellaire Boulevard and turning right onto South Rice Avenue, where it will fall in behind the children’s parade. The route takes the procession past the new City Hall and the festival grounds at Bellaire Town Square, before turning right to pass the Fire Department and Library on Jessamine, where it concludes, signaling the start of the festival.
The festival will run until 1 p.m. and features food, games, live entertainment, activities, a petting zoo, and an indoor story time conducted by the Bellaire Library.
Tickets are sold for games, activities and most of the food items, with proceeds benefiting the city’s recreation programs.