Island to mark Fourth of July with annual parade
Islanders and visitors will celebrate the birth of the nation with an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration. Complete with a parade, cookouts and fireworks, the party will have something for everyone.
Starting off the events will be the annual parade to take place on Stringfellow Road beginning at 10 a.m. Organizers said there will be more floats in the parade than every before, as well as motorcycles from the Legion Riders motorcycle club, convertibles, horses, marchers and more.
The grand marshal will be islander Phil Buchanan.
Parade participants will gather in the Winn-Dixie parking lot at 9 a.m. The parade route will follow Stringfellow north to the center and culminate at the Elks Lodge, next to Fire Station 1.
Sponsored by the American Legion, the parade will feature a special event for children. Youths of all ages are welcome to decorate their bicycles or tricycles using a patriotic theme and awards will be presented for the most creative designs at the end of the parade.
All of the children participating in the parade will receive a free soda and hot dog.
Also following the parade, several awards will be presented to the winning floats, which will be handed out at the American Legion in St. James City.
“We invite all of the island merchants and organizations to participate in the parade,” said American Legion Commander Joe Vallee. “They can enter a float or just drive a vehicle with a company banner on the side.
“We are also seeking donations, and those who contribute to the cost of the fireworks will earn a place on our board of sponsor recognition that is currently on display at the Legion,” he said.
Joining the festivities will be VFW Post 4353, located at 8150 Stringfellow Road in St. James City. The public is welcome to join the VFW members for a hog roast beginning at 4 p.m. and an afternoon of musical entertainment with local favorite R.V. Parks.
The Elks will offer members and visitors a cookout featuring hot dogs. Free hot dogs and soft drinks will be available for all children who participate in the parade, and adults can purchase a hot dog and soft drink for $1.
Throughout the afternoon, the members of the American Legion will feature a good old-fashioned cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs with all of the trimmings, as well as music to dance by and other activities. Ray LoRae will play from 1-5 p.m., followed by It Takes 2 from 6-10 p.m.
“I am inviting the public to be my guests this Fourth of July,” said Vallee. “We are striving to make this the best celebration the island has seen, and it is our hope that islanders both young and old will come out to the legion and help us celebrate.”
The lounge at the legion will be open to the public July 4, but no coolers will be permitted.
At dusk, guests are urged to bring a blanket or lawn chair to enjoy what is promised to be the biggest fireworks display ever presented on Pine Island.