Preview: May Fete returns to downtown

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The Palo Alto High School Concert Band practices on the track to prepare for the May Fete Children’s Parade & Fair. The parade will be held for the first time in three years after a hiatus due to the the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Recreation Supervisor Adam Howard, the parade taking place this year is an indication that the pandemic has started to recede and the city can return to planning larger events again. “It feels really good to get back to hosting the parade and other community events,” Howard stated in an email. “There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around this event and I’m really happy the community can come together again to celebrate.” (Photo: Arthur Wu)

Arthur Wu, Staff Writer

For the first time in three years, Palo Alto’s annual May Fete Children’s Parade & Fair will be held this Saturday, with the theme of “What emPowers You?” paying tribute to the resilience of Palo Alto’s youth and focusing on sustainability.

The Palo Alto High School Concert Band practices on the track to prepare for the May Fete Children’s Parade & Fair. The parade will be held for the first time in three years after a hiatus due to the the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Recreation Supervisor Adam Howard, the parade taking place this year is an indication that the pandemic has started to recede and the city can return to planning larger events again. “It feels really good to get back to hosting the parade and other community events,” Howard stated in an email. “There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around this event and I’m really happy the community can come together again to celebrate.” (Photo: Arthur Wu)

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade was not held in 2020 or 2021. According to Palo Alto’s Recreation Supervisor Adam Howard, the pandemic was the first time the parade had been cancelled since World War II. 

“The cancellation showed how serious of a time we were entering and how impactful the pandemic was going to be,” Howard stated in an email. “The parade coming back after three years signifies a little bit of normalcy returning to our lives. People are excited to be moving forward and the parade is just one of the many signs that we may be able to do so.”

According to Howard, the parade will feature 39 different groups, including multiple Palo Alto schools, teams, and extracurricular activities. The parade will start at 10 a.m. at the corner of Emerson Street and University Avenue and end at Heritage Park, where the May Fete Fair, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto, will allow parade attendees to participate in activities at more than 30 different booths offered by local community organizations.

“If you are interested in watching the parade, you can watch along University Avenue and Waverly Street,” Howard stated in an email. “The best locations are the intersections of University and Florence and Waverly and Hamilton.”

One of the many organizations participating in the Parade is Palo Alto High School’s marching band, which will be the third group in the parade. According to Paly Band Director Jeffrey Willner, although many of his students have not performed at the May Fete Parade before, he is excited for the parade and is confident in the band’s ability to perform.

“Usually we have a band where everyone has marched in the parade before, either in middle school or high school,” Willner said. “But for the past two years, many of them [students] didn’t have the opportunity, so that’s pretty neat and exciting.”

Willner said the parade’s format will still be similar to those before the pandemic. 

“There will mostly be that same familiarity, but there’s also going to be some newness to it,” Willner said. “After two years of not being able to [attend the parade], the people there are going to be much happier, so get out there early and come check us out.”