Very Important Boat Parade Information!


The 2015 Tidal Schuylkill Boat Parade is Free and Everyone is invited! The parade is a part of the Bartram’s Garden River Fest.

The Parade starts at promptly at 12pm. This means you should be on the river by 12pm. The Parade will end by 2pm. With Award Ceremony to follow.

Anyone can be in the parade. No registration is necessary. All you need is a costume and something that floats. If you don’t have something, ask around. You’d be surprised who has an old canoe or raft or giant inflatable alligator in their basement.  Trophies with will be awarded for best costume & best river craft.

Paraders with Boat(s): Load-in will start at 10:30 am at high tide. The entrance to the load-in and parade parking area is 51st Street and Lindbergh Boulevard. (SEE MAP) Take 51st Street to the river. You may have to carry your craft as far as 100ft. Wear shoes you don’t mind getting muddy, as it will be muddy. There will be volunteers on hand to help and there is plenty of room for parking (SEE MAP). Feel free to take your boat out of the river whenever you like, however the Parade will officially end by 2pm. Bring some water to drink, it’ll be hot!

Paraders without Boats: If you would like to be in the parade, but have no river craft, there will be a few kayaks and rowboats available at the public boat dock at the bottom of the meadow (SEE MAP). Enter Bartram’s Garden at main entrance and follow signs for “Free Boating”. First come, first served. And expect a wait. If you are driving to the event, parking is $5. There is plenty of free bike parking and we’re on the 36 trolley line.

Spectators: Come whenever! The parade loves an audience! The parade is happening as part of the Bartram’s Garden River Fest, where there will be food, music, pony rides, a farmer’s market, petting zoo, a boat-hay-cart, Neighborhood Bike Works bike rodeo,  Sky Sister face painting, and more! So if you are boat-less, there is plenty to do. If you are driving to the event, parking is $5. There is plenty of free bike parking and we’re on the 36 trolley line.

Parade Route: There will be an procession at 12pm to begin, but after that – wherever you want! It’s your parade!

Floating Ice Cream Parlor: Little Baby’s Ice Cream will be dishing out FREE ice cream to paraders from a Floating Ice Cream Parlor.

A Floating Brass Band, Reverse Birds will be performing on the water!

Invisible River Dancers will be performing a choreographed dance on paddle boards.

A Rhododendron Flotilla will be reenacting John Bartram’s trip home from Berks County — via canoe — with the first example of the Rhododendron arborescens, discovered near the headwaters of the Schuylkill River.

A small fleet of Philadelphia Waterborne rowboats will be in the procession. All the boats were handbuilt and handpainted by Philadelphia public school students.

The Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild will be showcasing the Gazella’s dories.

The Independence Seaport Museum will be bringing their harbor skiffs.

Boat Parade t-shirts & bandannas, silkscreened by Statement Silkscreen, and posters designed by Boat Parade alum Cecily Anderson, will be available for sale for cheap!

Rich Wexler Video and Karen Kirchhoff Photography will be documenting our event.

Awards will be given out to the most gussied-up parader, most flashy splash boat and such. The award ceremony will take place  at the Bartram’s Garden Boat Dock immediately following parade.


Important: This is a parade! Of friends and neighbors! The parade is YOU. So please help each other out, make it up as you go along, enjoy yourselves.

There are only TWO RULES.  (1)If you are on the river, you need a lifejacket – what we call in the nautical world a PFD (personal flotation device). You need to have one for each person in your boat. We will have a few extras, however if you have them, bring them!  Kids under 12 must wear lifejackets when on the river. (2) No motorized boats, please!

Thanks everyone!! You’re great!!

Questions?   Email Danielle Redden at

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Love the river & want to get involved with the new community boathouse at Bartram’s Garden?  Find out more info HERE