The 70th St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade will step off at 1 p.m. on May 28. An estimated 50,000 people turned out to watch the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade in 2022.

The 70th St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade will step off at 1 p.m. on May 28. An estimated 50,000 people turned out to watch the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade in 2022.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Big things planned for 70th St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 19, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — This year is the 70th anniversary of the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade, and there’s some special sights in store for patrons.

Memorial Day Parade Committee Chairman Dave Ellis said one of the main attractions this year will be a fly over from a World War II B-25 bomber.

“It’s famous for the ‘Doolittle Raid’ on Tokyo that we, that was gone off (the) aircraft carrier Hornet in the Pacific in 1942,” Ellis said. “Most folks are really familiar. That’s one of the most famous events of the Second World War.”

Along with the bomber, a C-47 Dakota transport plane will be soaring across the sky. This type of plane was used to transport paratroopers, Ellis said, most notably for the invasion of France on D-Day.

Some of the attractions and guests have returned from last year, while others are brand new.

“We get a lot of local VIPs and radio and TV personalities and some of the political folks, some of our politicians, folks in government that want to be in the parade,” Ellis said. “And some of these folks, I mean, come back year after year to be in the parade. It’s really kind of neat.”

Invitations to be a part of the parade have been sent out, Ellis said, but if a group would like to receive one, they can email him about getting on that list.

Councilman Dave Rubello, the St. Clair Shores City Council’s liaison for the Memorial Day Parade Committee, said the parade is the biggest volunteer-run parade in the country. It is not a televised parade, but Rubello said it should be.

“We got some of our old favorites coming back and we got people like the Tuskegee Airmen and the Arsenal of Democracy with a brand-new, they have a brand-new vehicle they’re going to be unveiling especially for our parade, courtesy of John Lind, who is the president of the Arsenal of Democracy,” Rubello said.

Ellis and Memorial Day Parade Committee member Kyle Nicholson are taking on more of the duties this year, including sending out the invites, which Rubello used to do.

Rubello is still involved in the process, with his focus now being the accrual of floats and bands for the parade. He applauded the work of the committee members.

“We’ve got some great members doing some great volunteer stuff,” Rubello said.

Ellis estimated the parade brought out a crowd of around 50,000 people last year. The population of St. Clair Shores is about 58,000, but Ellis said people from surrounding communities also come out to see the parade.

St. Clair Shores emergency services, as well as the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, will be at the event making the parade experience safe for patrons. The thing that concerns Ellis the most is when children run out too far to retrieve candy from the street.

“Some of the parade participants, you know, hand out candy or pass out candy, and I’d say parents need to be mindful of their children not rushing out into the parade route to try to pick up candy,” Ellis said. “It’s supposed to get to the curb where they can be picked up easy and stuff like that, but we’ve had some cases where we’ve had to go out and tell people.”

Paradegoers were reminded that no alcohol or fireworks are allowed at the parade. They should also remember that this event is to memorialize the people who have given their lives for their country, Ellis said.

“It’s about memorializing,” Ellis said. “I mean, it’s a fun event, but it’s also a serious event in that, you know, memorializing the ones that have fallen.”

Ellis said they are limited to what they can fundraise for the parade.

“The challenge is, our only budget is what we raise ourselves from the donations of community folks, businesses, and then we do a fundraiser dinner I mentioned the other day,” Ellis said. “Our budget is limited (to) only what we can raise from the generosity of others.”

The St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade Committee will host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 27. Tickets will be available starting April 1. Ellis said in an email that those who want tickets can text or call (248) 767-9961.

The committee is also looking for volunteers. To volunteer, email or Dave Rubello at

The 70th St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade will step off at 1 p.m. on May 28.