A steady rain did not stop the annual Northside Fourth of July parade, which stepped off a little past noon from Hamilton and Ashtree Avenues, heading down Hamilton to the Northside business district. A miniature Metro bus, a couple of marching bands, and a dozen or more political hopefuls made up the regular parade fare, but this was the Northside parade, so they were joined by zombies, a men’s drill team complete with cordless drills, and a lot of folks on tricked-out bicycles.
There were plenty of people lining the street to watch the parade, too—huddled under brightly colored umbrellas and canopy tents, they added a festive note to the other side of the parade and enhanced the gray day considerably.
The parade route ended at Hoffner Park, at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Blue Rock Road, where the tradition of an Independence Day parade began almost 150 years ago. On July 4, 1854, the St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage, originally located in downtown Cincinnati, moved to the corner where Hoffner Park is now located. The orphanage residents and the Sisters of Charity who cared for them made their way from downtown to the new location in a parade of canal boats along what is now Central Parkway. The parade and accompanying festival became an annual event to raise money for the orphanage operation.
Although the orphanage is long gone, the parade continues, along with what is now called the Northside Rock and Roll Carnival, which is sponsored by the Northside Business Association. Unfortunately, the carnival was a fairly damp affair this year, too, but for a rainy Fourth of July, the parade full of unusual and odd entries was a fun way to celebrate the holiday.