How to Attend the Marine Barracks Sunset Parade

Think you’ve done everything there is to to in DC?  Even longtime residents might not know that they can attend a tradition at the “Oldest Post of the Corps.”  The Marine Barracks Sunset Parade has become a universal symbol of the professionalism, discipline, and Esprit de Corps of the United States Marines.

The Evening Parades are conducted on Fridays only beginning May 3 through Aug. 30, 2019. These one hour and fifteen minute performances of music and precision marching feature “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, “The Commandant’s Own” The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, Ceremonial Marchers, and Cpl. Chesty XV, the official mascot of Marine Barracks Washington.

What to expect?

Guests with reservations (make them here) are admitted beginning at 7:00 p.m. General Admission gains entrance at 8:00 p.m. There is no charge for admission. No weapons food or beverages are allowed inside.

The basic format for today’s Evening Parade is similar to that envisioned and directed in 1934.  Its heritage is entwined with former military rituals such as tattoo, retreat, and lowering of the colors ceremonies. The performance takes place in the courtyard of the Barracks, bordered on its long axis by maple trees and shrubs fronting officer’s row and the barracks’ administrative offices, with the home of the Commandant to the North, and to the south the Marine Band Hall — made famous by the immortal John Philip Sousa.

The present-day Evening Parade was first conducted on July 5, 1957 and continues today solely to express the dignity and pride that represents more than two centuries of heritage.

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