Everybody loves a parade, and Alameda's annual Mayor's Fourth of July extravaganza — always on July 4, no matter what the day, natch — attracts some 20,000 spectators, or roughly one-third of the city's population. Everyone and then some are there to wave flags and witness color guards, marching bands, baton twirlers, classic cars, horses, politicians, veterans, and floats, floats, floats. The parade route is longer than three miles, allowing the city to claim it as the longest parade procession ever, which no one bothers to challenge. Families and friends lucky enough to live on the parade route host barbecues as the spectacle winds past, while others from Alameda and throughout the Bay Area contentedly nab spots along coveted stretches of Park Street, Grand, Central and Otis for optimal viewing. This event epitomizes Americana at its finest and is the best hometown parade going in the East Bay, no question. Makes you proud to be an American.