The Greater Glenside Patriotic Association
Join us on Thursday, July 4, 2019!
10:00 AM: Children's Morning Program held at Renninger Memorial Park in Cheltenham Township
4:00 PM: The Grand, Glorious, Patriotic Parade held on a 1.5-mile stretch through Glenside (see parade route below)
After Dark: America the Beautiful Aerial Fireworks Spectacular held at Abington Junior and Senior High Schools
GLENSIDE'S STIRRING 'REAL AMERICANA'
JULY 4 INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
Glenside's annual, stirring, action-filled morning-into-night marking of America's birth each July 4 has, over recent years, become the biggest, best, family-friendly Independence Day Celebration in Greater Philadelphia's tri-state suburbs. It's a big city staging in a small town, real Americana setting!
The three-tiered event, now well into its second century, occurs in the Abington and Cheltenham Townships' areas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and features "a grand starburst of activity on the 4th," as reported by THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (editions of July 3, 2006). "First will come a children's morning program in a park, then a parade through the heart of Glenside, and finally fireworks above Abington High School's playing fields." Total cost of the celebration is $55,000-plus.
All events are admission-free and sponsored by the volunteer membership of the Greater Glenside Patriotic Association (GGPA). This non-profit, tax exempt 501(c) group's sole, year-round effort is sponsorship and promotion of the annual Independence Day Celebration each July 4.
As expressed in its by-laws, the GGPA mission is "To exclusively advance and perpetuate the spirit of Independence Day (July 4)...to honor the birth of the U.S.A.; to organize and supervise an annual parade and other activities on July 4 (or a rain date) in celebration of Independence Day; and to encourage the citizens of the community to participate and join in with the association in the spirit of patriotism."
The patriotic gala begins with a "We Love America" Children's Program from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Renninger Memorial Park in Cheltenham Township. Festivities for 2,000 some attendees include decorated bike/stroller/float parades and competitive, award-winning field/sports contests, followed by lunchtime refreshments.
The "Grand, Glorious, Patriotic Parade" at 4 p.m. is a two-hours-plus, 1.5-mile march through American flag-bedecked streets. Begun in 1904, and now among America's oldest, consecutively run July 4 parades, the colorful spectacle includes quality musical and marching units in three divisions: United We Stand, American Patriots and Heroes and Let Freedom Ring.
Known locally as "The Parade!," it's the talk of the town as each July 4 approaches, not only in Glenside, but neighboring communities, as well. Besides Glensiders, the parade's thousands of spectators include former residents who return for the traditional event, and out-of-area attendees from near and far.
The celebration's rousing finale is an after-dark "America the Beautiful Aerial Fireworks Spectacular" at Abington Senior High and Middle Schools' athletic grounds. Police have estimated annual attendance exceeding 20,000, with many viewers coming from neighboring or nearby areas of eastern Montgomery County, lower Bucks County and Northeast/Northwest Philadelphia County neighborhoods.
In a feature story about Glenside, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER once observed: 'It's real Americana here! On every 4th of July...there has always been a parade so big, so important that the (sponsoring) Greater Glenside Patriotic Association needs to hold fundraising activities for it. It's an opportunity for everyone to come together. Glenside is THE 4th of July parade! It's something that links the Cheltenham and Abington sides of the community." (Glenside is an unincorporated area of Montgomery County shared by Abington and Cheltenham Townships.)
Besides uniting the community in a patriotic sense, each celebration has a positive economic effect on Greater Glenside businesses that remain open each July 4 to serve celebratory throngs.
The patriotic association is the recipient of a Distinguished Community Service Award presented by The Greater Glenside Chamber of Commerce for its annual and effective sponsorship of the entire Independence Day Celebration.
Also, Glenside's popular celebration has been a first place winner in the "Favorite Local Event" category of the Montgomery Newspapers' Annual Readers' Choice Awards.
The patriotic association accepts financial contributions for its July extravaganza year-round at post office box 72, Glenside, PA, 19038-0072. Contributions may be payable to the Greater Glenside Patriotic Association.