‘The Best Day of the Year’ in Preston Hollow

Newspaper archives preserve tales of long-standing July Fourth traditions
Aunt Sammie the clown blows balloons for children at the 1996 Russwood Acres parade. (PHOTO: Steve Delafield)

In my house, the Fourth of July is a – capital “B” – Big Deal. 

We refer to it as “the best day of the year,” and preparations begin months in advance.

We have designated outfits for the day, even our dog, and our house overflows with glowsticks and beads. My family knows how to celebrate our country’s birthday, and those celebrations would not be complete without a trip to the Preston Hollow North Fourth of July parade.

I first moved to Preston Hollow when I was 6, and almost every year since then, I’ve been an active participant in the parade. 

I remember decorating my bike with red, white, and blue tinsel and fans, playing with other neighborhood children, and, of course, riding the miniature train around Preston Hollow Elementary. 

The parade is a central part of my Fourth of July experience, but its roots stretch far beyond my 17-year-old memory. Here’s what I found after a few hours exploring Independence Day coverage in People Newspapers’ archives.

The first Preston Hollow North Fourth of July Parade occurred over 20 years ago, boasting some of the same attractions it does today. 

In 2000, the parade offered arts and crafts, a magic show, and visits from the local fire department, among other things. Children also decorated their bikes, and themselves, for contests, a longstanding tradition.

However, the Preston Hollow North parade is far from the only, or the first, Fourth of July celebration in Preston Hollow. Many Homeowner’s Associations have hosted their parades for decades, all of which have long and storied histories.

The parade is a central part of my Fourth of July experience, but its roots stretch far beyond my 17-year-old memory.

The Elderwood Drive parade, one of the oldest in Preston Hollow, began in 1962. The parade’s longest-standing tradition is the Statue of Liberty float that leads the festivities, ridden by the year’s “Miss Liberty.” Each year, a young girl crowned with the title rides the float dressed as the statue. 

In 1992, the parade received representatives from both the Dallas Fire Department and the Salvation Army, whose band played patriotic music on Elderwood Street during the celebrations.

Jessica Calicut, the 1992 Elderwood Miss Liberty, leads the neighborhood parade. (PHOTO: David Westapher)

The Russwood Acres Parade, which began in 1987, has served as a neighborhood get-together for generations. Through the years, it has entertained with clowns and vintage cars. 

With the many homeowners’ associations spanning Preston Hollow, there’s plenty of opportunities to spend “the best day of the year.” 

While I may be partial to Preston Hollow North, you are sure to find an amazing celebration rooted in tradition no matter where you go. 

For nearly 40 years, People Newspapers has worked tirelessly to tell the stories—good, bad, and sublime—of our neighbors in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. To support our efforts, please contact [email protected] for advertising opportunities. Please also consider sharing this story with your friends and social media followers.

Madeline Stout

Maddie Stout, co-editor of her campus newspaper, will begin her senior year at The Hockaday School in August.

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