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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to the following questions explain the Wheaton Arts Parade (WAP) policies and guidelines for the Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival
What is the Wheaton Arts Parade?
The Wheaton Arts Parade is a day for citizens, artists, businesses, and civic organizations to come together, walking to celebrate art and the Wheaton community. The day is inspired by the parade and the closure of roadways to motor vehicles so that people can walk and dance, play music and show off their art. The parade liberates the community's creative spirit from the confines of everyday life. Freed from their cars, people can appreciate Wheaton at a slower pace, as a walkable community. The highway becomes a path toward creativity and the arts parade calls the community to follow. The parade leads to a festival that continues the celebration of art and Wheaton's diversity. It is a time to gather in one place and eat together, to listen to music and readings, watch dance, view paintings and sculpture, to talk to each other and even make art. It is a chance for artists to exhibit and sell their work, but most importantly it is a time for local artists to be appreciated by the community and each other and for the community to see Wheaton's potential as an arts destination. Registration opens on May 1, 2024.
When is the Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival?
Sunday, September 29, 2024. The Parade begins at 10 am. The Festival exhibits and food sales open at the same time. Live entertainment begins at noon. The Parade lasts about one and one-half hours, depending upon the number of participants. The Festival ends at 5pm.


What if the weather is bad?
The parade and festival will take place “rain or shine.”  In case of severe weather, the decision to cancel will be made early the morning of September 29 and will be posted on this website and our Facebook & Instagram pages.
Where does the parade take place?
The parade assembles in the Ennalls Ave parking lot and Lot 13 in Wheaton, MD and walks up Ennalls to Georgia Avenue where it turns right and walks south to Reedie Drive where it turns right and right again onto Triangle Lane. It walks up Triangle Lane and around the new county office building to Grandview Ave where it turns left and marches down Grandview to Reedie Drive and ends after passing the reviewing stand and disperses with floats being placed around the Marian Fryer Town Plaza. Click here to see a map of the parade route.


Where does the festival take place?
The festival area encompasses the Marian Fryer Town Plaza and portions of Reedie Drive between Grandview Ave and Triangle Lane and Grandview Ave from Veirs Mill Rd to the entrance to the underground parking garage. Click here to see a map of the festival area.


Where is the best place to watch the parade?
The sidewalks along Grandview Ave, Triangle Lane and the West side of Georgia Ave offer excellent views. The parade stops along the way to give dancers and bands a chance to perform. Spectators also enjoy watching the parade from the festival area as it passes the reviewing stand.
How much does it cost to attend the parade & festival?
The parade and festival are FREE to attend. It's FREE to walk in the parade. Artists who exhibit and sell their work pay a fee to cover the cost of a tented space, table, chairs and signage. 
Do I have to be an artist to be in the parade?
On this day, everyone can be an artist. All you need to be in the parade is to make some art and carry it, pull it, push it, wear it, or perform it. Art is a painting, sculpture, mask, puppet, costume, dance, song, a drum beat, whatever. You can work alone or as a group -- as a family and neighbors, as a community organization, as a school or business. The most important thing is to have fun. Children younger than 13 must be accompanied by an adult.


Do I have to live in Wheaton to be in the parade?
No. Although the parade celebrates the Wheaton community and Wheaton and Montgomery County artists, the parade invites all artists to participate from far and wide. Whether or not you consider yourself an artist, if you can create some art to push, pull, carry, wear or perform, you are invited. As a Maryland Arts and Entertainment District, Wheaton hopes to attract artists to live and work in the area and the parade is one way of showing that Wheaton is an arts friendly community and an arts destination. If you live in the Wheaton area, please join in and strut your stuff.
Can I perform at the festival?
Musicians, dancers, and performers of all kind can entertain while marching in the parade or on one of the three festival stages. Last year’s festival entertainment ranged from puppeteers to poets, from rock music to rap, from Irish dance to tap. If you want to perform, just register and tell us what you would like to do. Entertainment is free to the public and performers are not paid, but your performance, your gift to the community, will be publicized on our website and in the printed program. If funds are available, performers will receive a modest honorarium to cover their costs. Deadline for performers to register is July 15.
How much does it cost to be in the parade and do I need to register?
It's FREE to walk in the Parade.  Registration is required. Registration opens on May 1, 2024 on the WAP website. If you want to be listed in the program, you must register before September 1, 2024. Same day registration is permitted at the parade assembly area no later than 9:00am.
How much does it cost to exhibit or sell art at the festival?
Artists, arts & performance groups, and community organizations may rent a covered exhibit space, approximately 10' x 10', to sell their artwork or promote their organization. The tented spaces come with a 6 ft table, 2 folding chairs and signage. Art vendors and exhibitors may bring additional tables, chairs and stands for display provided they do not encroach upon adjacent spaces or the walkway. There is a fee for exhibit space to help cover the cost of tent rental. The fee is discounted for artists and paraders. There is a limited number of tent spaces available. Selection of exhibitors will be guided by WAP's aim to present a diverse collection of art mediums and styles with priority given to local artists.
Tented Exhibit Space Fees:
1) Artists walking in the parade $200 (add $50 if not walking in the parade);
2) Arts groups walking in the parade $300 (add $50 if not walking in the parade);
3) Community organizations walking in the parade $300 (add $50 if not walking in the parade);
4) Solo performers on a festival stage $150;
5) Solo performers also walking in the parade $100;
6) Group performing on a festival stage $250;
7) Group performing and walking in the parade $200;
8) Two artists sharing an exhibit space. $125 each for an artist walking in the parade (add $25 if not walking in the parade);
9) Sponsorship at the Platinum and Gold levels includes a complimentary festival space. Bronze and Silver level sponsors may have a festival tent for an additional $300, whether or not they walk in the parade.
Can I sell food or beverages at the festival?
There are 8 tented spaces (approximately 10'x10') with 2 tables, 2 chairs, electrical power, and signage for food vendors. There is a 10x20 tented beer pub. The fee for food and beer vendors is $350.


How do I register to be in the festival?
Registration opens on April 6 on the WAP website. If you have difficulty registering, please request assistance at
What kind of art can be in the parade?
There are no limits to the kinds of art that can be in the parade as long as it is "hand made" and is “people-powered.” Motorized vehicles, other than wheelchairs, are NOT permitted. The content of parade art is as unlimited as the imagination of the artist, but artists should keep in mind that the spectators will include families and children. The parade is a welcoming celebration of art and does not split philosophical hairs about the definition of art or the distinction between art and design. However, art/design that has the purpose of advertising a real business or product or of promoting a real political campaign is not permitted. Of course, this does not mean that art/design cannot have a social or political or economic message. Parade art can be grouped into four categories: 1) Art you can wear: costumes & masks, puppets & other objects; 2) art you can carry: puppets & banners, posters & signs; 3) art you can wheel: floats of all sizes that can be pushed or pulled; and 4) art you can perform: musicians, bands and dance groups. In making parade art, there are three important considerations: scale, mobility, and stability. The parade is outdoors and spectators cannot get a close look at artwork from the sidewalk. Therefore, the scale of artwork needs to be large enough to be to be seen and appreciated.  Your parade art needs to be light enough to be worn or carried by one or more people, or able to be moved on some kind of wheeled platform. Art also needs to be structurally sound enough to survive a half-mile walk and the bumps in the road, gusts of wind, and the shaking by people moving it. Artists need to make sure there are enough people on hand to get the art safely to the end of the parade. The more the merrier. At the end of the parade, floats are displayed at the festival. Please make arrangements to transport your art to the assembly area at the start of the parade and to remove your float and parade art after the festival ends.
Who can exhibit at the festival?
The festival is a chance for the Wheaton community to get to know its artists and each other, for artists to exhibit and sell their work, and for the community to see Wheaton's potential as an arts destination. The exhibition tents are a showcase for artists from the Wheaton and Montgomery County area, however artists from outside Montgomery County, from far and wide, also are invited to to exhibit and sell their work. The Wheaton Arts Parade hopes to show visiting artists that Wheaton is the kind of community where they might like to live and work. Community organizations, government agencies, political candidates, and sponsors also may rent festival tents. They are expected to use their exhibit space for art related activities or to promote the arts in some manner. Because of space limitations, priority will be given to local artists. Exhibition space is allocated through the on-line registration form. There is a fee to have a festival tent to help to cover the cost of tent rental. Prices are set to encourage participation in the parade and to provide discounts for artists and community organizations. Fees are listed above and on the registration form.


Can a business exhibit at the festival?
A business that is a sponsor may have an exhibit tent at the festival for the purpose of providing information about the business’s art programs or its support for the arts, or to use its exhibit space to demonstrate art making, or to conduct children’s art activities. A Sponsor's tent may be staffed by the business's representatives and printed materials about the business may be distributed. Sponsors' tents are complimentary for Platinum and Gold level sponsors. Silver and Bronze level sponsors must pay $300 to cover the cost of the tent, table and chairs. If a sponsor does not intend to use its exhibit tent for its own purposes, it may donate its exhibit space to a local artist. No video or recorded audio advertising is permitted at the festival.
What kind of art can be exhibited and sold at the festival?
WAP embraces a broad definition of art. Artwork and crafts that are handmade by the festival artist may be exhibited and sold. All work must be original and should not infringe on copyrighted material. Imports (other than art made by the exhibitor), kits, items made from kits, items using commercial patterns, items assembled from pre-manufactured components, items made from elephant or whale ivory, commercial t-shirts, or arts and crafts supplies MAY NOT be displayed or sold. Caricatures, face/body painting, and art made by artists during the parade or festival may be sold. Permanent tattoo art is not permitted. If design art is associated with promoting a business the exhibit must follow the policy guidelines for business exhibits. The Wheaton Arts Parade is not responsible for any transactions between artists and the public. Transactions take place in the individual exhibition space that has been rented by the artist. Transactions, including the sales price and collection of sales tax, are the responsibility of the artist or the artist’s representative. Artists should provide customers with a written receipt for all purchases and make customers aware of their return policy.
Does the artist have to be at the exhibit?
The festival is about appreciating the artist, the maker, as much as the art. It is a chance to meet the artist creator. Therefore, the artist exhibitor is expected to be with his/her art exhibit throughout the day, as much as possible. It is the artists responsibility to ensure that the exhibit tent is staffed at all times.
Can I get help making art for the parade?
The Wheaton Arts Parade will award as many as SIX grants of up to $500 each for the creation of floats and parade art for the 7th Annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival.

How physically demanding is the parade?
The parade route is about one-half mile long and the pace is slow on paved city streets. Some stretches of the parade are on a gradual incline. (See parade route map.) The parade will stop at least twice for approximately 3-5 minutes to allow dancers, musicians and performers to entertain spectators. Participants need to be physically fit enough to walk this distance while “pushing, pulling, carrying, wearing or performing art” or they may need to have some form of assistance, such as a wheelchair, that will enable them to complete the route. If you are unable to continue walking for any reason, you can step to the side of the parade and signal to one of the volunteers for assistance. The Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad will be on hand in case of emergencies. The weather can vary greatly in late September, so be sure to check the forecast as the date approaches and dress accordingly, and wear sunblock. There will be water stationed at two points along the route.

Can I parade with my pet?
Live animals are NOT permitted in the parade, other than service animals. The festival area will be filled with people, some eating, some with children in strollers or in their arms. Pets are permitted in the festival area only if they are on a leash. Even so, they have potential to cause a disturbance. So, please be respectful of others.
What kind of signage is permitted on floats and parade art and accompanying performers and marchers?
Floats and parade artwork MAY include the name, logo, website or email address of the artist or group that made it along with the title of the float/artwork. Words that are an integral part of the artwork are permitted as long as they are not marketing or campaign messsages. Parade art does not have to shy away from social issues as long as its message is communicated in art. Sponsors of floats may be listed in the program but not on the art unless the sponsor made the parade art. The street is our "stage" and on this day it is reserved for art. Lettering should not exceed 8 inches in height or more than 30 characters. School groups, community organizations, clubs, scout troops, sport teams, marching bands, etc., may wear uniforms and carry banners identifying their organization, but the banner is not their art. 
Can I advertise my business in the parade?
Businesses are encouraged to participate in the parade provided they are pushing, pulling, carrying, wearing or performing art, but artwork and costumes must not advertise or promote a product or businesses, except as specified by the policy on signage. Businesses that sponsor the parade will have their logos on banners hanging from the festival stages and on the back cover of the program. Platinum sponsors will have their logos on posters and on the banners that are strung across the state highway in downtown Wheaton. Businesses that sponsor artwork and floats will be acknowledged in the program and recognized by the Master of Ceremonies as the artwork passes the reviewing stand.
Can political candidates be in the parade?
Yes, political candidates can be in the parade provided they are pushing, pulling, carrying, wearing or performing art. But political campaigning is NOT permitted from the parade. No campaign buttons or T-shirts can be worn. We appreciate that many of our local officials walk in the parade carrying art. They are there in their official capacity and not as candidates. Because there is a limited number of festival tents and our mission is to promote arts & entertainment, we are not able to rent tents to candidates. However, there will be section of festival area set aside with tables and chairs for candidates and campaigns to distribute materials. Candidates are welcome to mingle with the festival crowd to introduce themselves to potential voters.
Can religious organizations be in the parade?
Yes, religious organizations are part of the cultural fabric of our community and are welcome, even encouraged to march in the parade. Artwork, costumes, floats and banners may identify the organization but should not proselytize a particular religious belief. A limited number of tents will be available for a fee in the festival area for use by community organizations, including churches.
What kind of things can we toss or hand out to the spectators?
NOTHING may be tossed from the parade route. Parade participants must NOT hand out printed materials, food, candy, trinkets or any other thing from the parade route. Parade participants may “engage” the spectators in dance and song, with "high fives", and “selfies,” etc. Handouts and printed materials may be distributed from exhibits in the festival area but not from the parade.
Where do the parade participants assemble?
The parade assembly areas are the Ennalls Ave parking lot between Veirs Mill Rd and Grandview Ave, one block south of University Blvd and parking lot 13 on Grandview Ave. Enter from northbound side of Veirs Mill Rd. just past Chuck Levin's or from Grandview Ave at University Blvd and check in. Cars should drop off paraders and artwork and proceed to county garage on Grandview Ave or exit the festival area. Parade assembly is from 7:00am – 9:30am. Parade participants are responsible for transporting floats and parade art to the assembly area and for removing them from the festival area at the end of the day. Floats and parade art that are not removed from the festival area by 7pm may be discarded.
Where do festival exhibitors drop off their stuff?
Drive into the festival area on Reedie Drive at the intersection with Veirs Mill Rd. There will be staff directing you depending whether you are dropping off people or unloading artwork. Drop-offs only should stay on Reedie Drive and exit onto Georgia Ave. Unloading exhibitors or those parking should go up Grandview Ave and stop on the right side in front of the exhibit tents. After unloading cars should proceed to the underground county garage. If there is no place to park on Grandview, proceed to the parking garage. Do not block the street. The festival area is open for exhibitors to set up at 7:00am. All exhibitor and food tents must finish set up by 9:00 am.  Exhibit tents must be staffed from 10 am–5pm. Tear down must not begin before 5pm and should be finished by 6pm.

Where can we park?
The county garage on Grandview Ave and the WMATA garage on Veirs Mill Rd are the recommended locations for parking. There is another county parking garage on Amherst Ave between University Blvd and Reedie Dr.
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