More than 150 people — and 8 dogs — are participating in the 21st annual Veterans Day Parade this weekend.
Rolling Thunder Chapter 5 has been organizing the parade since 2005 to honor U.S. veterans and show appreciation to their service. Organizers say 34 floats have already registered.
“The Veterans Day Parade is held in honor of veterans that have served this country and those that still serve. It’s also a way for the community to thank veterans for the freedom that we have now,” said Linda Henninger, the Veterans Day Parade chairperson.
The parade will roll out from Coastal Carolina Community College at 10 a.m. Saturday and end at the Brynn Marr Shopping Center.
“Jacksonville Police Department closes down Western Boulevard at about 9 or 9:15 a.m. that Saturday, so if anybody wants to set up on Western they need to make sure they get there before 9 a.m.,” Henninger said.
According to organizers, Western Boulevard will be closed from the Smoothie King at University Drive to N.C. 24 until the parade concludes.
About 2,000 onlookers are expected to line Western as the Veterans Day Parade travels by. Jones-Onslow Electric Membership Corporation (JOEMC) has offered the use of their facility’s front lawn for spectators.
“JOEMC lets Rolling Thunder set up bleachers in the front of their building. That’s where the speakers and announcers will be. There’s seating and you get to hear the announcers as they tell you which organization of the parade is going by,” Henninger said.
The parade will be led by participating military organizations, including the 2nd Marine Division Band and Marine Corps Engineer School.
“The number of organizations varies from year to year, but this year we have 97 organizations registered: veteran organizations, churches, school marching bands, four car clubs, boy scouts, cub scouts and girl scouts,” Henninger said.
County Commissioner Jack Bright, Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips, and N.C. Senator Harry Brown are among the local officials attending.
“The first 12 (units) of the parade will be military vehicles, followed by the grand marshal, Alexander “Gunner” Nevgloski Sr., and veterans organizations,” Henninger said.
All other parade participants will follow after the veteran organizations.
For more information on attending, call 910-389-4566 or visit RollingThunderNC5.com.