A 40 vehicle 4th of July Car Parade will pass through Safety Harbor. Watch from your yard,
Instead of a parade down Main Street, a 4th of July Car Parade will roll through some neighborhoods on Saturday. Residents can watch from their yards. Photo by Walt Belcher.

Scaled Back 4th of July Parade Set for Saturday

in news/town square

The annual Safety Harbor 4th of July Parade has been changed due to the COVID 19 virus threat and is now a 40-vehicle motorcade that will wind its way through some city neighborhoods.

This would have been the 12th year for what had become a long, colorful and patriotic march down Main Street.

Put on by Safety Harbor’s American Legion Post 238, past parades featured bands, floats, vintage cars, military vehicles, cars filled with dignitaries, motorcycles, bikes, and hundreds of spectators.

Because of social distancing and to avoid crowds, the city’s annual fireworks show has been canceled and Main Street is off limits for any parade.

“We had to scale it back this year but we wanted to do something,” said Ruth Ann Burgess, parade chairman with the Auxiliary Unit of American Legion Post 238.

The motorcade will not be on Main Street this year and citizens are asked to watch it from their yards.

It starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Safety Harbor Elementary School and will end at the Legion Post’s headquarters on Legion Lane (see map for route). The Legion will be open to the public for a limited menu of take-away food.

If you don’t live on the route, there are a few places to see it, provided you keep the proper social distance.

Those who live along the route are asked to clear any cars from the streets and citizens are encouraged to decorate their yards with flags and 4th of July decor and watch from their yards.

“All of our vehicles will be decorated with flags,” said Burgess, noting that they won’t be giving out little flags to the children this year. “No one will be walking,” she said.

For example, the marching Palm Harbor Santas will be waving from a car this year.

The motorcade also will include a few members of the 501 Legion of Star Wars, the therapy dog group Paws for Friendship, Safety Harbor Recreation with mascot Fiona, state and local American Legion officers, and the Tampa Bay Posse (a Corvette Club with just two cars instead of the 30 that were in last year’s parade).

Also in the parade this year will be motorcycles from the American Legion Riders, two Ford Model T cars, antique military vehicles, the Tampa Bay Jeep Club, the Sons of the American Legion officers, Socks for Soldiers, Honor Flight, the North Pinellas Democrats and North Pinellas Republicans and a car carrying Congressman Gus Bilirakis.

Safety Harbor City Commissioners Carlos Diaz and Nancy Besore are scheduled to ride, and the Safety Harbor Fire Department and Pinellas Sheriff’s Department will be represented.

Walt spent 35 years as a reporter, feature writer. TV critic and columnist for The Tampa Tribune. Prior to that he worked in the public relations office at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and as a reporter for The Greenville (SC) News. He and his wife, Debbie, have lived in Safety Harbor for 10 years. He also taught media writing courses at the University of Tampa. Since moving here, he has been active with the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center, hosting a monthly storytelling night.