July 4 is possibly the busiest day for a campaign other than Election Day. It starts with serving pancakes at the Rotary or firemen’s breakfast, then on to walk parade after parade and finally working the crowd at the fireworks display at dusk. It’s exhausting but worth it. Participating in as much as you can on July 4 can not only boost awareness of your candidate and campaign, it can also grow volunteer and supporter rolls. And with little more than stickers, volunteers and a well executed plan, your candidate can create the perception that he or she is a front-runner. As with any campaign strategy, every region and race requires a different July 4 approach. Beyond all else, you need to be creative and consider some of these dos and don’ts for the parade: Don’t let the candidate walk or ride the parade route just waving. Parades offer an opportunity for voters to physically interact with the candidate and campaign. Allowing your candidate to walk the center line or wave from a convertible prevents voters from “touching and feeling” your candidate. This also creates the impression that your candidate or campaign is better than the voter, who likely arrived two hours before the parade to grab the “perfect” spot and is sweating in the hot sun. Do hand out something. Handing out materials allows your volunteers and candidate to get close to voters, putting something in their hands. This also gives the campaign an opportunity to pass along things that are emblazoned with the campaign logo, web address and more.Don’t hand our candy, do use flags. Everyone will be handing out candy. It’s cheap, but strategically it’s pointless because only the kids are interested and it has no take-away value. Instead, passing out little American flags on a stick will allow the candidate and volunteers to interact with children and adults. Everyone wants a flag and you can attach a sticker with the campaign logo and web address to the other end of the stick. Do work the parade route beforehand. Contrary to popular belief, the most important part of the parade is before the first float rolls down the route. Deploy volunteers with bottled water, lapel stickers, palm cards, balloons with the campaign logo (or stickers), voter registration cards and volunteer- or supporter-signup sheets. All of those stickers and balloons with the campaign logo can create the perception that everyone is supporting you. It’s a powerful sign, especially since late and swing voters support who they perceive to be leading the race. Don’t pass up a parade or event if they occur at the same time. While the candidate can only be in one place at a time, the campaign should plan to be present at as many events in the district or state as possible. Most parade participants won’t even know that they didn’t see the candidate. Do recruit and train volunteers. As with all campaign operations, success is largely dependent on volunteers who have been given good directions. I have found that gathering the night before at a pre-parade launch party is a good way to hand out materials and cover specifics before the events start. Finally, don’t forget to have fun. July 4 will be a long, hard (and hot) day, and if your candidate and volunteers are miserable it will show. Make sure there are plenty of perks (and water) associated with volunteering for parade detail. Never forget to recognize and reward volunteers. The campaign’s success rides on their shoulders, especially on July 4.Tyler Harber is vice president and director of the political division for Wilson Research Strategies, a public opinion research and political consulting firm for Republicans. You can follow Harber at www.w-r-s.com or on Twitter @tharber.