Parade Guidelines


Mega event- defined at a minimum 20,000 expected attendance and occur in CBD (expected attendance as estimated by the Dallas Police Department)

Large parade– defined between 2,000-20,000 expected attendance (expected attendance as estimated by the Dallas Police Department)

Small parade– under 2,000 expected attendance (expected attendance as estimated by the Dallas Police Department)


1. An experienced Parade Marshall for managing the parade must be hired or designated.

2. The Parade Marshall must secure approval of the proposed parade route from the Dallas Fire Rescue Department and Dallas Police Department (usually parade routes are not permitted to cross Dart Rail lines due to rail traffic schedules). All route approvals will be coordinated through the Office of Special Events.

3. The Parade Marshall must ensure an adequate number of volunteers/assistants along the route who are easily identifiable.

4. The Parade Marshall should complete information contained in the special event application at least 45 days prior to the event date.

5. The Parade Marshall should meet with participants prior to the parade to discuss all requirements and restrictions.

6. The Parade Marshall should ensure that the presence of media organizations on the parade route should not interfere with, slow, or stop the routine progress of a parade.

7. An Event Plan must be created and submitted to the Office of Special Events. This plan will be distributed through the Office of Special Events to the appropriate city departments for review.

8. The Event Plan must contain a Crowd Management/Emergency Contingency review provided and approved by the Police Department and the office of Emergency Preparedness.

9. For all large and mega parades, planners should provide (through established media vehicles) an awareness program to include broadcast of event schedule, parade route, first aid locations, public transport locations, restroom facilities, handicap areas and parade ‘rules’ no less than 24 hours prior to the parade.

10. All sports celebration parades will occur on a weekday.

11. If there is school age appeal, the parade organizer must involve DISD and other area school districts in the planning process to alleviate school absences and encourage on-campus participation.

12. The parade participants will not have squirt guns, silly string and other items that could lead to crowd control issues.

13. No candy or materials may be thrown from parade participants to spectators along the parade route. The distribution of gifts, merchandise, literature or other materials along the parade route is prohibited.

14. Parade participants will not jump from or onto a float or motorized vehicle.

15. All owners and drivers of parade-related vehicles, and all other parade participants must sign ‘hold harmless’ agreements protecting the City of Dallas and/or the parade organization.

16. No tandem trailers or other trailers, where the wheels are in the center of the trailer, are allowed for units that have people on them. All materials used for parade floats must be flame retardant and in compliance with City City Code 42A (Special Events) and 51A (Dallas Development Code) and parade codes and standards.

17. The use of flatbeds, trucks, buses, or floats are recommended for any mega or large parades where crowd attendance is anticipated to be such that visibility and security are a reasonable concern.

18. Metal interlocking barricades when required by permit along the parade route, should be positioned at street level and not on public sidewalks.

19. The hitch used to attach the float to the pulling vehicle will be factory ‘receiver’ type or welded pickup style bumper. No “bolt-on” type hitches will be allowed. When using a large truck a ‘drop-hitch’ must be used and should be at least 12″ from hitch to the ground.

20. Generators or other equipment that use flammable fuel will not be allowed on the float itself, unless approved in writing by the Dallas Fire Rescue Department. Generators used to supply electricity to the float should be put in the bed of the pickup or hauling devices at least three feet from the float body.

21. If horses or animals are entrants in the parade, the parade organizer must assign a pooper-scooper to ensure all animal waste is properly cleaned up, disposed of, and not allowed to contaminate the storm drainage system. A State Licensed Veterinarian must be onsite for the duration of the parade and a copy of the Veterinarian’s License must be provided to the Office of Special Events. A certificate of general liability covering any bodily injury and property damage caused by the animals in the minimum of $500,000 will be required.

22. The parade route should be planned to spread spectators over a larger number of blocks to reduce any over-crowding situation along the route.

23. Trash maintenance service must be provided by the parade organizer during and immediately following the hours of the parade.

24. Portable restrooms and trash containers to meet the anticipated attendance at parade must be provided by parade organizer.

25. All drivers of floats or motorized vehicles must provide proof of vehicle liability insurance and a valid Texas Drivers license 48 hours before the parade to the Parade Marshall. The Dallas Fire Rescue Department will inspect all vehicles in the parade. Dallas Fire Department Web Site.

26. A float can be no wider than 12 feet while in the parade or 8 feet while being towed without permit and police escort anywhere else in the City of Dallas. In height, the tallest part of the deck people can stand on is to be no taller than 4 feet from the ground. No prop or item added to the deck can be taller than 12 feet from the top of the highest point to the ground (due to the high voltage DART rail wire throughout the Central Business Area).

27. All float participants standing on floats or any other motorized vehicles must wear safety belts, have hand holds or vertical stanchions, mounted to the float chassis, with a u-shaped piece welded to the top bracket, or back supports securing them in place while the float or vehicles are in motion.

28. Color coded credentials that are large enough to view from 10 feet away are to be worn by all event staff, dignitaries, parade participants, and media to gain access to any restricted areas.

29. No ticker tape or confetti to be used on the actual parade route by parade participants during the parade due to the creation of fire hazards, engine air-intake problems and clean-up costs.

30. The Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire Rescue Department may exercise the authority to ‘veto’ any aspect of the parade that they feel poses an unreasonable risk of injury or danger to the public. While exercise of this veto should be prudent, and certainly permit event producers to revise any objectionable part of a plan, public safety must ultimately be the responsibility of the police department and fire rescue department, and related public agencies.

31. At least one type ABC (2A20BC) fire extinguisher is to be located within easy access on each float. The fire rescue department will inspect floats before the parade. If there are no fire extinguishers on board, or the float is made of flammable non-approved materials, or there is some other violation the float will be red tagged and not allowed in the parade until these items are corrected.

32. The Command Post must be established for all mega parades. This Command Post may contain the following staff and equipment:

  • Two- way communications on all DPD and local police safety channels
  • A designated communications dispatcher
  • No less than two mobile telephones and two fixed telephone lines or a total of four working telephone lines are needed
  • A representative of DART- if DART is to be involved or provide transportation
  • A clear channel to parade (or event) producers
  • Copies of parade line-by-line scripts or other production documents
  • Lists of local emergency contact numbers including hospitals, FCC, FAA, EPA, airport control towers, any area military bases, all Federal law enforcement officials, home and work numbers of key DPD officials, and key utility officials
  • A least one command level DPD and DFRD official
  • A representative of other involved public safety agencies
  • A list of appropriate building managers and security department telephone numbers when a large event is to take place well within the CBD (Central Business District)

33. If the DPD believe that the environment predicates, aerial spotters on buildings and in aircraft may be added to the detail. They will also need to be in communication with the Command Post.

34. A sufficient number of police motorcycle officers must be hired to continuously ‘ride the barricades’ to enforce keeping the parade route clear of spectators.

35. Most medium and large parades should have a Dallas Fire Rescue Department engine as the last unit in the parade, followed only by a police car, if it is found such a follow-car is necessary.

36. The Dallas Police Department, as part of its planning for large events, will review a crowd disbursement plan in addition to routine security anticipation.