The Nitty-Gritty on Saturday's Festival Parade ({{commentsTotal}})

July 5 will see a grand procession - the rongkäik, comprising more than 40,000 Song and Dance Festival performers - wend through central Tallinn and Kadriorg district to the Song Festival Grounds by the sea. It's a colorful occasion with plenty of pageantry and local hometown spirit on display from all of Estonia's near 100 historical parishes.

The total length of the parade is near 5 kilometers and the path is Pärnu mnt – Narva mnt – Pirita tee – Song Festival Grounds. As where to get the best view of the parade and what to take into account when commuting by car, the head organizer of the Song and Dance Festival, Jaanus Väljamäe, has shared some tips for making the most of the event.

The gathering point is Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak), and basically all adjoining streets will be used as the starting point. Due to the amount of people joining the parade, the city center will be closed two hours earlier (12:00) than the parade, to leave time to organize a coherent line. The parade begins 14:00 and ends at 20:00.

For those who are worried about getting the best view of the parade, just follow one golden rule. The parade will follow the roadway and the spectators keep to the sidewalk - on both sides. This means there will be a total of 10 kilometers of parade line to follow. In order for the least complicated arrival to the Song Festival Grounds, festival organizers recommend that spectators use the Oru gate and Lasnamäe gate, because the main entrance (Mere gate) will be used by the parade.

To car owners: best leave your car home. On Saturday the center of the city will be shut down from 12:00 to 18:30. Some local traffic will be allowed along the parade route, Freedom Square – Viru väljak – Narva mnt – Pirita tee – Vana-Pirita tee and Song Festival Grounds - but be restricted to the pace of the parade. Parking or stopping on those roads is forbidden already from Friday evening.

Here's the story with some diagrams.

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