Parade Banners And What You Need To Know

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I couldn’t help myself. It just sort of slipped out. “Well, Shelly … you’re gonna have to either get a shorter banner or taller kindergarteners.”

A brief moment of silence was broken by her laughter letting me know I hadn’t blown it and that she had a sense of humor — something I really like in a client.

“Oh yeah, right,” she said. “If the banner is four feet high the kids will have to hold it above their heads for the whole parade.”

Like most things in life, there are few things to consider when ordering a banner for an event. For starters, if the banner will be carried in a parade, how tall the carriers are in relationship to the height of the banner needs some thought.

How the banner will be used and for how long will dictate the substrate or, the material, of which the banner is made. If the banner is for one-time use such as a parade it can be made of a lighter, banner paper that is less expensive. On the other hand, if the banner will be used in multiple parades and/or hung up for viewing after use, then you have other things to consider as well.

A heavier, more durable substrate such as a 13oz vinyl banner material is recommended for multiple uses to withstand foldings/rollings and “trunk abuse”. If the banner will be hung in a window, an Ultraviolet (UV) laminate should be considered to prevent fading of the colors.

When a banner is to be used for a parade, we generally engineer horizontal “pole pockets” across the top and bottom. A pole that is roughly two feet longer than the banner is wide is inserted, making a comfortable carrying handle. We recommend PVC pipe as it’s lightweight and inexpensive yet strong enough to offer the support you want.

Sometimes people ask for vertical pole pockets at each end with an opening at the bottom and the pocket sewn shut at the top. The problem with this is that the banner carriers must remain a specific distance apart to keep the banner tight through the whole parade. It’s harder to do than it sounds and can make an otherwise enjoyable parade walk, miserable. The horizontal pockets are much easier to deal with.

The reason for the bottom horizontal pocket is to prevent the wind from blowing the banner either forward or back rendering it unreadable. We’ve found that a length of PCV pipe, that measures the width of the banner, with a couple end caps works great. You fill the pipe with sand, cap the ends and insert it into the bottom pole pocket giving it enough weight to remain stationary even if the wind blows.

If the banner will be hung after a parade then you’ll also want to have it manufactured with grommets that will give you more hanging options. We usually place grommets every two to three feet depending on the banner size. Anything over three feet high we usually put a grommet in the middle of each side as well.

For storage, rolling a banner is preferred to folding when your substrate is vinyl or paper. In cases where you have a digitally printed image on fabric, then folding is fine.

Once again, make sure the banner is short enough that the people carrying it in the parade can hold it about chest high without the bottom of the banner touching the ground.

Giving a little thought to your application, use and duration of use can produce a functional banner that looks great!

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