From birthday cake floats to colorful balloons to party hats, the Palo Alto community cheerfully celebrated the city's 125th anniversary at Saturday's May Fête Parade downtown.
This year's theme, "Happy 125th Birthday Palo Alto," marked 125 years since the city's incorporation. The Palo Alto Historical Association served as this year's parade grand marshal.
More than 55 groups that collectively added up to 2,200 people were signed up to walk in the parade, including community organizations, school groups and businesses, which featured decorated floats, live music and eye-catching costumes.
The popular children's event kicked off at 10 a.m. Participants marched on University Avenue beginning at Emerson Street, then went down to Waverley Street where they turned right and concluded at Heritage Park.
The parade, a Palo Alto tradition held every May, began in the early 1920s when it was first sponsored by the Community Center Commission as a city event, according to the parade website. The event gives children an opportunity to march down with their pets, some choosing to go down the route on their bicycles or with their wagons.
Local groups are also frequent participants, proudly showcasing their homemade floats for a chance at cash prizes. At the end of the day, the Godoy Family walked away with the top $500 prize, followed by $250 for second-place winner Our School. Addison Elementary School, the third-place winner that won $125, had a school bus float filled with several colored pictures of birthday greetings, recycling signs and bike lanes, a tribute to the city's identity as a bike-friendly community.
Police Chief Robert Jonsen was one of many community members at the parade who recognized "Star Wars" Day, an unofficial holiday that coincided with Saturday's event. Many fans of the film franchise can be heard greeting one another with "May the fourth be with you," a spin on a memorable line from the popular movie franchise: "May the Force be with you."
Jonsen, who revealed last year that he was cast as an Imperial Stormtrooper in the franchise's third film, "Return of the Jedi," showed off his socks printed with images of the character in a video posted Saturday on the Police Department's Twitter account. Palo Alto High School's Pep Band also marked the occasion by entertaining crowds with the film franchise's theme song.
Several parade participants and spectators attended a fair at Heritage Park hosted by the Palo Alto Kiwanis Club once the parade concluded.
See more photos and videos posted on social media by the Palo Alto Weekly and community members on our Wakelet page.