St. Clair Shores Memorial Day parade preparations running smoothly

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 5, 2024

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Preparations are going smoothly for the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade, and Parade Committee members are excited.

The parade will be on Harper Avenue this year, Memorial Day Parade Committee Chairman Dave Ellis said, and it is on Sunday May 26. The advanced group starts at 12:45 p.m. and the main body at 1 p.m.

Ellis said there is always a lot of confusion when they run the parade on Harper because it starts at Ridgeway Street.

“So it’s a little further, about a quarter-mile north on Harper,” Ellis said. “The reason I bring that up is because every year we do it on Harper, I have to go down on the south side of Harper and tell people, ‘You’re not seeing the parade.’”

The route is shorter when they run the parade on Harper though it is not without its challenges. Ellis said when they run the parade on Jefferson Avenue, they have the Chapaton Pump Station parking lot.

“When we do it over on Harper, we have to stage on the part of Harper south of Ridgeway and then back over behind what used to be Kapones in that parking lot,” Ellis said. “And then close a lot of Little Mack. The group’s more spread out and we’re using more city streets that are routinely in business.”

The parade awards for 2024 are Mayor’s Choice, Chairman’s Choice, Best Overall Entry, Best School Band, Best Color Guard, Best Patriotic Float, Best Band and Best Special Entry.

The parade committee plans on making their selections for Grand Marshall and Veteran of the Year in the next month and announcing those two people in April, Ellis said. There will also be a fundraiser on April 18 at the VFW Bruce Post. Tickets for the dinner will go on sale in mid-March.

Ellis said they are still working on the special guests for this year as well.

“We’ll have an announcement about that probably about April,” Ellis said.

The Parade Committee needs more volunteers, and they also have three vacancies on the committee itself.

“It was founded on patriotism, but it’s sustained really by the number of people that volunteer and the donations of folks to keep us going year to year,” Ellis said. “Because we don’t get any tax money or anything like that. It’s only money that we raise ourselves or people donate to us.”

Volunteers are needed mainly for Sunday, but volunteers are also needed to help set up on Saturday.

Councilman Dave Rubello, the St. Clair Shores City Council’s parade liaison, said they are full speed ahead. He assembles groups for the parade and is in the process of doing that.

“So I started already, early, trying to guarantee the best parade we’re going to see on the streets of St. Clair Shores,” Rubello said.

He also said the city as well as the Parade Committee is expecting a great parade. So far, they have around 60 groups signed up which he says is about right for the time of year.

Rubello has seen a lot of repeat entries, but they are always welcoming new groups. He also said for people and businesses to look out for a chance to join the “$100 Club” coming soon.

Ellis said he’s excited for the parade. Last year, an estimated 55,000 people showed up for parade day.

“We draw a lot of people from outside of St. Clair Shores,” Ellis said. “Because basically that’s the population of St. Clair Shores and we know not everybody in the city goes. So we know we have a big draw from other places, especially around the state.”

Ellis added that they run into people every year who come from out of state to see the parade. He also said they get great support from the city’s fire, police and parks and recreation departments.

“It’s amazing that we manage to do all this and put all this together in one day without a real rehearsal,” Ellis said. “You know, rehearsal for this year was last year’s parade.”

Last year, the only injury that occurred was a man who was dehydrated and fell off a vehicle. Ellis said the man was taken to the hospital, treated and released.

“Our first main focus is try to run a safe operation,” Ellis said. “It’s a challenge with a lot of people that aren’t rehearsed. There’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of big moving vehicles put in a small space kind of all at one time.”

Ellis went on to say their foremost priority is safety and having a great parade is secondary.

“It won’t be a great parade if somebody gets hurt,” Ellis said.

To become a committee member, email for more information. To volunteer for the parade, email parade coordinator Maria Galla at