New Year's Day Parade
The New Year's Day Parade is a parade through the streets of the West End of London, which takes place annually on 1 January. The first year the parade took place was 1987, as the Lord Mayor of Westminster's Big Parade. The parade was renamed in 1994 and for 2000 only it was renamed the Millennium Parade.
The London parade is the biggest New Year's Day street event of its kind. The parade is used to raise funds for charities in London and representatives from each of the 32 London boroughs are encouraged to take part as a 'borough entry' which are judged as part of the event. The winning entry in the 2009 parade was the London Borough of Merton. The parade is also used to honour people from each borough who have been heroic in some way during the previous year. Every year BBC London holds a competition to find two talented young musicians to travel to the United States and play with an American high school marching band, both in America and in the London Parade. The parade dates back to the 1920s to celebrate the special relationship between England and the USA.
The 2 mile (3.2 km) parade route begins at Parliament Square in Westminster and continues along Parliament Street and Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. It then continues along Cockspur Street and Regent Street. The final section is along Piccadilly and the parade ends at Green Park. The parade attracts around a million spectators, and there is ticket-only seating at the start and end of the route.
New route 2010
The parade route has been reversed from 2010 with the event now starting at the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly and finishing at Parliament Square. The revised route is now:
- Leave the Ritz Hotel, head along Piccadilly to Piccadilly Circus, down Regent Street, then along Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall and end up in Parliament Square.
The decision to reverse the route was taken to "appease US television broadcasters" and to "give the American audience the best views of the capital's landmarks, such as Big Ben and Trafalgar Square." 
The 240-member Walker Valley High School Band from Cleveland, Tennessee, directed by Alan Hunt, and the vocal ensemble from the same school, marched in the 2007 parade. This was the second year that they had participated in the event. The vocal ensemble was also honored by being asked to start the parade off by singing the British national anthem. The 140-member marching band from Fort Myers High School in Florida, USA, were initially banned from taking part in the 2007 parade because US education officials feared they may be caught in a terrorist attack. The decision was later overruled. The school also hosted the two winners of that year's BBC London competition.
Other American high school groups to perform included the Aberdeen High School Marching Eagle, from Aberdeen, Maryland, the Troy High School marching band from Troy, Michigan, which placed fourth out of the numerous marching bands competing from Europe and the United States, the Deep Run Marching Wildcats of Glen Allen, VA, and Turpin High School marching band, from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Over 200 Scouts from across London took part in the 2007 Parade. The scouts were led by the Enfield District Scout Band. This is the first time that London scouts from the 6 different counties have got together to do something which publicises scouting to such a large audience. They started the UK's 2007 Centenary of Scouting Celebrations. London's town crier is also part of the parade.
- ^ London New Year's Day parade reversed for US audience BBC London News, 7 December 2009
- ^ BBC News - US pupils allowed on London trip
- ^ london town crier, uk, england, great britain - peter moore
- New Year's Day Parade - London
- Greater London North Jamboree Unit UK 31 - Scouts taking part in the 2007 Parade
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