Marple Newtown Fourth of July Parade adds 'Quiet Zone'

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. (WPVI) -- The Marple Newtown Fourth of July Parade started as most parades do, with screaming sirens and booming drums.

People and pets lined the street down West Chester Pike in Newtown Square. Everyone was excited to spend time with family and celebrate Independence Day.

But this year, they're also trying something different, a quiet zone where they silenced the sirens, and muted the music for about a block.

The goal is to make it more comfortable for kids on the autism spectrum or people with sensory-sensitivity.

The parade committee set up the quiet zone after getting feedback from families.

Merri Staurowsky is vice chair of the committee.

"We love this parade and just want everyone to come out and enjoy it, anyway you can," Staurowsky said.

Even without sensory issues, many parents with young children liked it.

"She doesn't get as nervous or scared but she still gets to enjoy and see everything," said Ashley Falcone about her three-year-old daughter Penelope.

But other parade-goers weren't aware of the changes and weren't thrilled to find out their usual spot was now in the quiet zone.

While many welcome making the parade more inclusive, they suggest moving it to the start of the parade or at least adding back in quiet music.

The parade committee is asking for feedback so they can determine what changes can be made for next year.
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