Empty chairs were already lining the sidewalks of Redwood City's downtown corridor Wednesday morning as spectators save their spots one day before Redwood City's 75th annual Independence Day Parade.
City Manager Bob Bell said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that even more chairs are set up than previous years, and could be removed if they are blocking access.
More than 25,000 people are expected to flock to downtown Redwood City Thursday to watch 160 groups -- nearly 2,500 participants -- march in the city's July 4 parade, according to longtime volunteer and former parade director Bill Anderson.
This year's parade, called "Seventy Five Years of Pageantry" steps off at 10 a.m. Considered the largest Independence Day Parade in Northern California, the event brings entries from all over the state.
From dance teams, martial arts crews, floats, sports teams and armed forces and law enforcement agencies, this year's parade has something for everyone, said Anderson, a member of Peninsula Celebration Association, which sponsors the parade and festival.
One big draw is that in attendance will be the newly crowned Miss California, Crystal Lee, who received her sparkling honor on June 29.
"This year will be another great one," Anderson said. "We sponsor this event in cooperation with the city, which provides us with immeasurable amounts of services."
Marching bands from Stanford and The University of California at Davis will lead the parade and will compete in a "Battle of the Bands" from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
"It's a very friendly format of battle of the bands, but it's great, we've been doing this since 2000," said Anderson.
Spectators can also enjoy the Peninsula Celebration Association's Parade Festival, which features food, arts and crafts, merchants and a kid's zone.
Beginning at Winslow Street near County Center, the parade will head down Marshall Street to Main Street, wrap around Middlefield Road and end at Arguello Street. The festival will be set up along Broadway with booths running along the streets of Hamilton Way, Middlefield and Jefferson.
The fun begins with a Redwood City Fire Department benefit pancake breakfast at 755 Middlefield at 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.