A Cheerleader’s Guide To Holiday Parades

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Whether it’s Labor Day, homecoming, or any other event, marching in a parade is a fantastic way to not only show off your skills, but also give back to your community. And they’re a lot of fun, too! Here are a few tips to help make the day go a little easier.

Dress for the Weather

Check the weather before you start out, but remember that it (and you) will be heating up as you go along, so dress in layers that you can remove as the day goes on. If the forecast is predicting rain, you can order inexpensive clear plastic rain hoods online or pick them up at any sporting goods or dollar store.

Wear Sunscreen

Even if your parade is in the dead of winter, you’ll still be outside for several hours, so no matter the weather, make sure you use sunscreen to protect any areas that will be exposed to the sun’s UV rays.

Bring Water

Don’t wait until the last minute to hydrate. Make sure you start drinking water well before the parade starts, especially on warm days. If your group includes a float, your coach can place a small cooler on it to store your water bottles. And make sure to plan a trip to the restroom just before you take off.

Dress up your Hair

Whether you go red, white, and blue for Labor Day, your school colors for homecoming, leprechaun hats for St. Patrick’s Day, or reindeer antlers and Santa hats for Christmas, parades are one time you won’t have to worry about your hair pieces falling out, so dress up your hair with colorful ribbons, flowers, or hats to match the occasion.

Plan Your Routines

Since you’ll be moving along, hopefully at a fairly brisk pace, you don’t have to worry about repeating chants or cheers, so just choose one or two that use very visual arm movements, and avoid those with complicated steps. You can plan a cheer with more complex choreography to perform when you stop at the reviewing stands. Crowd response cheers are great for these occasions. You can also perform these if the parade stops for any reason–those antique cars have been known to break down occasionally! If you’re marching with a band or float with loudspeakers, you can coordinate your movements to synchronize with the music.

Use Visual Aids

Poms and megaphones add to the visual effects, and signs will tell the crowd the name of your group. But be careful with metallic items–they can get burning hot in the sun, even on a cold day.

Watch Where You’re Walking

Are there horses in the parade? ‘Nuff said.

Keep a Steady Pace

Walk at a steady pace, not too fast and not too slow, and try to keep a fixed distance between you and the group in front of you so you don’t end up in a bunch.

Interact With the Spectators

Smile and wave at the crowd. If security permits it, you can high-five the viewers and hand out candy, beads, or other trinkets to children and other spectators along the route.

Above all, have fun!

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Marge Packman

Marge was a member of her high school pom team and has coached youth and school cheer for over 17 years. She has a BA in English from Northern Illinois University (Go, Huskies!). After graduation she joined the Peace Corps, met her husband, and moved to The OC. After cheer practice, you can find her watching football with her son or perusing the scrapbooking aisles with her daughter.


  1. arac kiralama firmalari

    July 12, 2016 at 4:36 am

    Why this website do not have other languages support?

    • Chassé

      July 14, 2016 at 11:02 am

      We are not an international company at this time, but we are glad to hear we are reaching readers around the world! We will pass your suggestion along to the editors.

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