May Fete Parade to roll through Palo Alto Saturday

City introduces new 'May Fete Fair' as part of annual celebration

The 90th annual May Fete Parade will be celebrated in Palo Alto Saturday, May 5, with the frivolous theme of "Palo Alto at Play." The parade -- featuring an array of group floats, musicians, martial-arts demonstrations and costumed characters -- will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of University Avenue and Emerson Street.

Paraders will march down University and end at Heritage Park, culminating with a new May Fete Fair that will include children's activities, music and dance performances, food and more. The fair, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is being sponsored by Peninsula Pediatric Dentistry, Mid Peninsula Orthodontics and Jefunira Camp, and hosted by the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation and the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto.

"For 90 years Palo Altans have been celebrating the children and youth of our community and the flower-scented season of spring at the annual May Fete Parade; we know how to play and have fun," city officials stated in a press release.

Parade participants include the Palo Alto High School Viking Pep Band, Sparkles the Clown, All Star Kung Fu, Palo Alto Children's Theatre and Grand Marshal Bob Klein, among many others.

Automobile enthusiasts can stop by the Museum of American Heritage (across the street from Heritage Park) from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for the museum's "Vintage Vehicle and Family Fun Day," which will include children's activities and a showcase of vintage vehicles.

More information about the May Fete Parade is available at

The Palo Alto Police Department announced the following road closures for Saturday during the parade. Roads and city parking lots will be closed starting at 7:30 a.m.:

• University Avenue will be closed from High Street to Waverley Street, and will re-open around noon.

• Waverley Street will be closed from University to Channing Avenue, and will re-open no later than 3 p.m.

• Homer Avenue will be closed from Cowper Street to Bryant Street, and will re-open no later than 3 p.m.

• Three city parking lots will be closed during the event: Lot "A" (431 Emerson St.), Lot "O" (460 Emerson St.) and Lot "N" (539 Emerson St.).

Related story: Floats and roadsters

Download the parade line up

Download the parade staging map

Watch video of the 89th annual May Fete Parade

What: The May Fete Parade and Fair, the Vintage Vehicles and Family Festival, and open house at the Museum of American Heritage

Where and when: Downtown Palo Alto. The parade starts at 10 a.m. at University Avenue and Emerson Street, then continues down University to end at Heritage Park, 300 Homer Ave. The fair is in the park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the auto show is in the park from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The museum, at 351 Homer Ave., is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Admission to all events is free.

Info: Go to or for May Fete details, and to for information about museum events.

— Tyler Hanley


Like this comment
Posted by workers of the world unite
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm

So glad that our kids are remembering this important international day of remembrance.

Like this comment
Posted by liberty
a resident of University South
on May 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm

So the parade only goes down 2 blocks of University Ave now?

Like this comment
Posted by Jordan Band Parent
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

It's very misleading to say that the parade goes down "University Ave" when the majority of the distance is on Waverly Drive. Also, how sad for the residents of Channing House who regularly sit on their patios to enjoy the bands marching by. While change can be good, I'm not sure this was thought through.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

The Parade is no longer sponsored or organized by the School District or PiE, therefore it is not ending at a school. Since the Rec Department is organizing it, it makes sense for it to end at a park.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm

To be more accurate, PAUSD/PiE no longer sponsors the fair. Rec Dept has always sponsored/managed the parade itself.

And I think the PiE didn't realize any positive cash flow recently. The Rec Dept would have to pay rent to PAUSD to use Addison - free to use their own park...

Like this comment
Posted by liberty
a resident of University South
on May 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

They still could have made it go down University to Webster (like it used to), then turn down Homer to Heritage park. That would be the same length as before and would still go by Channing house (sort of).

With the entire parade compressed into 5 blocks, i'm afraid it will be hard to find sidewalk space to watch it.

Like this comment
Posted by S Shinomiya (was Kallenbach)
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Been having a lively conversation on FB among Paly friends who remember May Day dances, the Fete and the May Day Parade. I marched in it from about age 3 as a (very tiny) matador. Cherished memories.

Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto at Play?
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm

The theme this year is "Palo Alto at Play"? What happened to the great creativity of themes of the past? A great parade deserves a great theme!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on May 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I hope all the Gunn and Paly teams that won division and state championships are honored with floats or a ride on convertibles. These are our high school young people who deserve a parade.

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