Bellaire 4th of July Festival and Parade is patriotic tradition, start of police centennial year

With an enthusiastic children’s procession and the main parade containing 75 entries, sometimes it seems as if most of Bellaire is marching for the Fourth of July — while the rest lines the route. This year’s event has an extra facet, as it kicks off the 100th anniversary of the Bellaire Police Department.

Lineup 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 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.

The Bellaire Police Department will have a booth in conjunction with its 100-year anniversary, and city workers will be on hand to register residents for the city’s new emergency notification program for weather alerts and other urgent messages.

Tickets are sold for food and most activities, with proceeds benefiting the city’s recreation programs.