The theme and tentative date for Dunwoody’s 2021 4th of July Parade has been announced, but whether or not it will be safe to hold the massive event remains to be seen. With the devastation the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the past year, there is the question of whether large crowds would be able to safely gather together, and if they can, whether people would feel safe doing so.

Parade co-chair Pam Tallmadge, who is also a City Council member, announced the theme at the Jan. 31 Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting. If the parade is held on the tentative date of Monday, July 5, the theme would be “Celebrating Our Heroes,” paying homage to frontline workers who have faced the coronavirus pandemic head-on over the past year.

“Let’s all hope for the best,” Tallmadge said. “That we will have Georgia’s largest 4th of July parade.”

The annual parade, which routinely draws tens of thousands of spectators and participants, was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The parade is presented by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and the Dunwoody Reporter has been a sponsor in recent years.

While no formal survey of Dunwoody residents has been done, Tallmadge said the attitude towards holding the parade has generally been positive. 

“In general discussions and dialogue with our Dunwoody citizens of all ages … people want this parade to happen,” she said in an email. 

But, Tallmadge said, the city will continue to follow state guidelines and cancel the parade if those guidelines do not allow for large gatherings. If the parade is in-person, she said, social distancing and other safety guidelines will be encouraged. 

“We are planning the parade right now as if everything was normal (or as normal as it can be),” she said. “[It’s] hard to give a set date on when we would have to cancel if necessary. We would take it month by month, going by state guidelines.” 

In keeping with the theme, if the parade is held the grand marshals would be frontline workers, such as nurses, policemen and grocery workers. Tallmadge said there would be a link for front-line workers to sign up so the city would know how many volunteers to expect and could plan for space accordingly. 

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.