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What to know about Saturday’s Good Neighbor Day Parade

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Above: Spectators anxiously await the start of the Good Neighbor Day Parade in Lansing in 2023. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

LANSING, Ill. (April 29, 2024) – The 56th iteration of the Lansing Good Neighbor Day Parade will step off Saturday afternoon. Here’s everything you need to know about the uniquely-Lansing event, which is organized by the Lansing-Area Chamber of Commerce:

What’s this year’s theme?

The theme this year is “Lansing Goes Looney…Tunes.”

“The thought behind the theme was, let’s dress up like cartoon characters, and let’s have some fun,” Susan Thompson, executive director for the Lansing-Area Chamber of Commerce, told The Lansing Journal in January.

Participants in the parade, as well as spectators, are invited to dress up as any cartoon character.

What’s the route?

Following the route that was debuted in 2021, the parade will will start at Ridge Road and Wentworth Avenue, and head west on Ridge. At Burnham Avenue, the parade will turn south and travel until it ends at the intersection of 186th Street and Burnham, a total distance of a little over a mile.

parade
The route of the 2024 Good Neighbor Day Parade. (Source: Google Maps)

When does the parade start?

The parade will step off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at the intersection of Ridge and Wentworth. From start to finish, the parade is estimated to last about two hours. Participants will line up on Wentworth Avenue starting at 12:30 p.m.

The TF South Band marches during the 2023 Good Neighbor Day Parade. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Where’s the best place to sit for the parade?

Spectators are invited to watch the parade at any point along its route. In past years, businesses along Ridge Road have handed out popcorn and other goodies to spectators. Near the corner of Ridge and Burnham, an announcer will introduce each group as they pass by.

What happens if it rains?

Although the forecast for Saturday looks ideal as of this writing, the parade will continue rain or shine.

What’s the history of the Good Neighbor Day Parade?

Always held on the first Saturday in May, the Good Neighbor Day Parade is distinct to Lansing, and has been held nearly every year since 1968, when it was called the “Lansing Spring Parade.” Read more about the parade’s history in this 2018 article.

Will Saturday be the last Good Neighbor Day Parade?

It’s possible.

Thompson told The Lansing Journal this year’s parade will include 59 registrants, one of the lowest numbers in recent memory.

“In years past we have had anywhere from 70 to 150,” she said.

The hundreds of hours required to organize the parade as well as the increasing scarcity of volunteers needed for parade day has called into question the event’s future.

“We would hate to see this tradition stop, but with participation at an all-time low and the behind-the-scenes work that must be done, it needs to be discussed if it is feasible to continue the tradition,” Thompson said.

“This year we did make phone calls to everyone we could think of including all the surrounding villages and towns,” she continued. “We put it out there in emails, newsletters, and personally invited people, and still couldn’t get the participation that is needed to give the people of Lansing and the surrounding areas the parade they deserve. The biggest reason for not participating we get is that the ones who do want to participate cannot find employees or volunteers to help.”

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Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.