Caterpillar held its inaugural Power Parade at Marquette Heights, Illinois, in 1964 and later at Edwards, Illinois, in 1973, 1978, 1988 and 2000.Learn More
In 1955, Caterpillar hosted a Worldwide Dealer Meeting called The Caterpillar Exposition. More than 500 Caterpillar Dealers and field representatives from the United States, Canada and 85 other countries traveled to Peoria, Illinois for an action-packed agenda that included a dramatic demonstration of Caterpillar plants and products. This meeting was the first gathering of the world-wide group in 20 years, and was the first for domestic dealers since 1944.
The highlight of the meeting was “The Big Parade,” staged at the Peoria Proving Grounds in Washington, Illinois. In seven successive waves, nearly $2 million of earthmoving equipment (equivalent to nearly $18 million in 2014) paraded over a huge levee and filed one-by-one past the grandstands. This spectacular performance excited and inspired dealers for the future.
After watching The Big Parade one dealer said, “These days will remain highest in my recollection of many years of splendid association in the business. We are at the threshold of a new era…to which I am looking forward with a great deal of eagerness.”
According to former Director of Governmental and Public Affairs, Byron DeHaan, it was this dealer meeting that inspired the inaugural Power Parade held in 1964 in Marquette Heights, Illinois. If The Big Parade was this inspiring to the dealers and field representatives, the thought was that employees would be equally as inspired to see a parade of equipment they helped build.
A total of five Power Parades were held – in 1964, 1973, 1978, 1988 and 2000 – drawing nearly 100,000 attendees each. Today, employees and the community can reminisce about these grand events every day at the Caterpillar Visitors Center. The ‘Power Parades of the Past’ exhibit is open through early October and features memorabilia from each of the five shows, a digital photo album containing more than 60 photos and a video highlighting actual event footage.
To learn more about the exhibit and see photos and video of past Power Parades, visit the Caterpillar Visitors Center website.