With the snappy cadence of the drums and the red, white and blue of the holiday, the Independence Parade steps off through the Westland area Saturday, June 28.
Parade chairman Jamie Grube admits the Fourth of July parade is early this year, but it is in keeping with the guidelines of the sponsor, the Westland Area Business Association (WABA).
“We always have it the Saturday prior to July 4,” said Grube, the second vice president of WABA. “It’s a little early this year because of the calendar.”
Even with the early date, the parade, which promises to be a star-spangled affair, has already brought in entry forms from throughout Franklin County.
Serving as grand marshal is Jan Niepert, a recent retiree of the Southwest Public Library where she spent 36 years, most recently as the assistant director.
“Janice is a great supporter of the Westland Area and has been with WABA since it began,” Grube said.
She has also served as president of the Lincoln Village Women’s Club.
This year’s parade honoree is Air Force Sgt. (ret.) William Hoy, a long-time Lincoln Village resident who had been an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor at Westland High School.
“He continues to volunteer his time and expertise, giving back to the school and Westland area,” said Grube, a former principal at Westland High School, now personnel director for the South-Western City Schools.
Bands from Westland, Franklin Heights, Central Crossing and Grove City high schools will fall in line behind Niepert and Hoy, along with floats from businesses and church groups, sports teams, youth groups, military units, walkers and fire trucks.
“It’s a really nice event,” said Grube. “It’s also a time for the residents of the Westside to come together and celebrate.”
Grube expects nearly 50 units to be marching from Westwoods Boulevard to the Lincoln Plaza Shopping Center where numerous activities are planned beginning at 11 a.m. The parade will start at 9:30 a.m.
While it’s hard to estimate the size of the crowd, Grube has seen residents lined several deep along the mile-long parade route.
Entrants will be vying for prizes as best commercial entrant, best church, best youth group and best entrant on the theme of “Star Spangled Fun.”
Activities at the Lincoln Plaza Shopping Center parking lot will allow children to participate in games and crafts.
“But we don’t want people to think it is just for the youth,” Grube said.
There’ll also be cash prizes as well as gifts that have been donated by local merchants. Athletic and band boosters will have stands set up offering soft drinks and water. The availability of food at stands is limited, but several restaurants will be open that day around the Plaza.
The number of vendors has fallen off over the years, and Grube attributes it to either the rainy weather or higher-than-normal temperatures.
However, Doctors West will have its Wellness on Wheels trailer at the Plaza and people can take tours of that, he said.
Although the deadline has past for entering the parade, Grube says late comers will be welcome. He said it’s not unusual for some to arrive on parade day with their entry form.
Those entry forms can be found on the WABA Web site at www.waba-cols.com.