More About American Celebration
Come join the celebration – American Celebration on Parade!
Come relive history by standing where presidents and other famous Americans have stood. American Celebration has 27 full size parade floats and over 100 props for you to enjoy.
You’ll find floats from the Rose parade, Presidential Inaugurals, Thanksgiving parades and many other prestigious parades. You’ll recognize many of these floats and other celebration art pieces and you will be amazed at their size and beauty.
Hargrove, Inc. has been building props and floats for Presidential Inaugurations since Harry Truman was elected in 1949. At American Celebration on Parade, many of these historic decorations can be visited, even touched and always photographed.
The 2009 Presidential Seal used as a backdrop at the Neighborhood Ball is on display, as well as the podium President Obama used for his first swearing in ceremony!
"Ahoy Mates!" You won't believe the sheer size and height of our newest parade float on display, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ship Disney used in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade.
Special things come in all shapes and sizes! Our model train collection will excite your imagination. Three tracks intertwine through an elaborate dioroma around a massive tree inside the lobby at American Celebration on Parade.
The American Celebration on Parade will thrill and entertain you. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before – and you can’t see it anywhere else!
History of American Celebration on Parade
Parades are among the oldest forms of organized celebrations. They are said to date back to 3000 BC as religious observances. Romans held civil parades called triumphs to celebrate special occasions. American celebrations range from observances of important historical events, such as July 4th, to religious and ethnic holidays to secular and sports events. From community and high school homecoming parades to grand, national events, Americans love to celebrate.
The idea for American Celebration on Parade, which opened in July, 2000, began nearly 30 years earlier. Earl Hargrove, owner of Shenandoah Caverns, had long produced floats for prestigious parades throughout the nation and served as a principal contractor for every presidential inaugural since Harry Truman’s in 1949. Mr. Hargrove had purchased many floats that had appeared in the Rose Parade over the years and adapted them for use in other parades. He wanted to create a revolving exhibition of famous parade floats the public would recognize from the Rose Parade, Presidential Inaugurals, Thanksgiving parades, and many others.
Everything in the exhibit has a story, some dating back more than 50 years, others nearly new. Floral decorations on one float graced President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Balls in 1961 while other exhibits appeared as recently as the January 2001 Inaugural Parade. The floats and life-sized props come from an extensive collection and inventory that are still used in special events, trade shows, and parades produced by Hargrove, Inc.
The Presidential inaugural exhibit at American Celebration on Parade includes unusual memorabilia ranging from inaugural license plates, invitations, tickets, and programs to banners and items used in VIP boxes at the Inaugural Balls. Visitors learn from the many historical photographs of past inaugural events and an interactive component that tests their Inaugural knowledge based on information in the exhibit and on the attraction’s web site.
The exhibit also includes a hand-drawn sketch of a VIP box from President Nixon’s Inaugural Ball that can also be seen in a ball photograph. A sketch of a float from the 1993 Inaugural parade depicts a float that is part of the permanent exhibition at American Celebration on Parade. “We thought it would be fun for visitors to see the concept to reality transformation,” said General Manager Joe Proctor.
Most of the material to be exhibited comes from the collection of Earl C. Hargrove, owner of Shenandoah Caverns and American Celebration on Parade. Mr. Hargrove’s Maryland company has provided services to every Presidential Inaugural since 1949. The many gold eagles featured in the exhibit have been used at a variety of inaugural events dating back to 1969. A jacket used by staff at the 1989 bicentennial celebration of George Washington’s first inaugural in New York City is also on display.
Visitors experience the pageantry of the Presidency throughout American Celebration on Parade because the 40,000-square-foot exhibition is home to six parade floats that are veterans of Presidential Inaugurals and décor elements from Inaugural Balls dating back as far as John F. Kennedy.
Freedom Hall at American Celebration on parade is our tribute to American history and democracy. Our tradition of Presidential Inaugurals goes back to George Washington and represents the peaceful transfer of power from one individual to another. The founders of our nation sought a simple ceremony instead of the elaborate ceremonies associated with a royal coronation. George Washington’s inaugural was scheduled for March 4, 1789, but he didn't actually take the oath of office in New York City until April 30th because of unusually bad weather that made travel especially difficult. He delivered an inaugural address, which was reprinted and widely distributed. Over time, other traditions became attached to the inaugural ceremony.
The Celebration Shop
After you enjoy the floats browse the unique gift shops in the lobby of American Celebration on Parade.
A beautiful clock collection is on display for purchase at the Liberty Clock Shop! Rhythm clocks make great presents! Enjoy the intricate movements as the clocks play familiar melodies and Christmas Carols. Some even play Beatles tunes!
Visit our collection of Bearington Bears, we are an exclusive area dealer! We also have an amazing selection of collectable dolls of all sizes. Our newest featured gift merchandise items are Britto ceramics. They make amazingly fun and surprising gifts for anyone in your family.
Also, check out our Sweet Celebration Candy Shoppe! Create your own "Pucker Powder" Candy Art. So many fun flavors to choose from - some sour and some sweet! Delectable selections of old time favorite's like Mary Jane's and BB Bats Taffy Suckers are available. Locally made Fudge and much more!