Redwood City spokesman Malcolm Smith said there are several exciting changes this year, including the return of a Fourth of July fireworks show that had been on hiatus since 2009 and a new parade route.
"The really great part is, this is all back in the heart of downtown," Smith said of the parade.
He said the procession had been routed along other streets in recent years because of construction.
The parade began at 10 a.m. at Marshall and Winslow streets and wound around down Main Street and Middlefield Road, to Arguello and Alden streets.
The group that organizes the parade, the Peninsula Celebration Association, claims it is the largest Independence Day procession in Northern California.
More than 80 groups and individuals were on the roster to participate, and the parade was expected to last about two hours.
During the day today, there will be a festival on Broadway featuring arts and crafts, food and drinks, kids' activities, a car show and a carnival put on by the local Kiwanis Club.
Tonight's eagerly anticipated fireworks show will be the city's first since 2009, Smith said.
The show had been canceled the past two years because of a lack of funds, but this year the city and community members recruited local businesses as sponsors, and the display is a go.
"That really is a big deal because it is a combo of the city and the community and the business community, who came together to fund the fireworks this year," Smith said.
He said Sims Metal Management and at least a dozen other businesses contributed.
"Once the ball started rolling with a couple of larger companies, more and more started jumping in," he said.
The fireworks will be shot from a barge in the water at the Port of Redwood City around 9:15 p.m.
Smith warned that there is "very limited parking" near the port, and advised spectators to get there early. He also said there are plenty of other good spots from which to watch the fireworks.
"You can really see them from any flat, open area west of (Highway) 101," Smith said.
In addition, Canada College is opening its upper parking lot to fireworks spectators.