Jasper’s annual Veterans Parade will be held Saturday morning, Nov. 3, in downtown, with an effort made this year to keep the parade together toward its conclusion on 18th Street so elderly …
Jasper’s annual Veterans Parade will be held Saturday morning, Nov. 3, in downtown, with an effort made this year to keep the parade together toward its conclusion on 18th Street so elderly residents can see the parade from their porches.
"We would like for it to be bigger than it was last year, and we had a great parade last year," said parade organizer Janet Little on Tuesday, noting that the theme this year will center around "Old Glory," the nation's flag. Floats will be judged and trophies will be handed out. There is no charge to enter the parade.
As is the custom, a downtown ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. and the parade set to start at approximately 10:35 a.m. in order to reach Los Reyes at the downtown area by 11 a.m., Little said. Line-up for the event is expected to start about 8:30 a.m.
Bunny Murray, who is coordinating the opening ceremonies, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The Marvin Lee Ferguson VFW Post 4850/Jasper and its Auxiliary, which Little is a part of and which is in charge of the parade, is currently accepting entries for this year's event.
Little said people with entries need to call her to make sure where to line up.
She said the lineup will be in the area of Viking Drive (19th Street) just west of the Daily Mountain Eagle. The parade will head west down that street.
"I would like to have everybody in their positions, in their spots, by 10 o'clock," she said. "We're going to line up basically like we did last year."
The walkers, antique vehicles and the automobiles that pageant winners ride in will be at the old Walker High School parking lot, Little said.
The tractors and the fire trucks, those sort of vehicles, will be at the old board of education area and Walker County Center of Technology. The floats will all be over at T.R. Simmons Elementary School in their parking lot because of the circular drive," she said.
The parade will proceed down to Fifth Avenue (The Cigar Box and Reality South) instead of Sixth Avenue, as has been tradition in the past.
"Some of our parade people have complained that no one is doing anything beyond Fifth Avenue in that extra block, and when you have been walking that long, it doesn't sound like much, but it really is," she said. "So we're going to turn up (north) at Fifth and go all the way back up to 18th Street."
Little said the parade will continue east on 18th Street back to the old Walker High School parking lot.
Jasper Special Events Coordinator Lisa Myers has passed along a special request to parade organizers this year, Little said.
"It has been requested due to some of our elderly people that as many as possibly can go back to your original starting point," Little said. "We have some houses on the end of 18th Street after you come through the town section back there, and we have elderly people on their porches who would like to see the parade but can't to the front."
She said she cannot make it mandatory to stay in line with the parade formation for its complete route, but she requested as many participants as possible remain in the parade all the way back to the original starting point.
Myers said Tuesday that a number of houses are on 18th Street.
"It has been word by mouth by neighbors, and the neighbors, when I run into them, that's what they talk about," she said. "That is a long walk, but it does make it convenient, because a lot of them are unable to leave their home by driving or someone driving them." This way, the elderly neighbors could watch from their porches.
She added this could also benefit a number of young children. "Some people have children on 18th Street, and they will bring the children to their neighbors' house" instead of dealing with crowds on 19th Street, Myers said.
As far as the sewer work downtown, Little asked for patience as she tries to navigate any potential problems from that work, as she looks closer to the parade on what actual work is going on, what has been completed and what the parade organizers to accomplish. She particularly has concerns around the Jasper Civic Center area, but the parade volunteers will have to make do.
High school bands will come together as one band from across the county in the parade. The ROTC from Jasper High School will present the colors. The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts will be involved. Miss Walker County will be involved, as will all major veterans organizations (including the American Legion), as well as the Elks Lodge. She is hoping the Alabama National Guard and Army Reserves can continue their annual participation, although that has not been confirmed yet.
Little said for anyone who wants to be in the parade, "give me a call. We have a place for them to be."
Politicians are welcome to participate, but organizers prefer no campaigning with signs or other actions. "We solely want this to be focused on our veterans," she said.
Candy can be passed out, but a city ordinance requires they walk beside the vehicles and hand it out, as opposed to throwing it from a float. "We prefer the adults. If a child is walking, there has to be an adult with them, or an adult does the walking and the children be on the float," Little said. "This is strictly for safety purposes."
After the parade, hot dogs and drinks will be available to parade participants at the VFW Post, across Highway 118 from Walker Baptist Medical Center, with the military plane in front.
For more information, especially to finalize lineup plans, call Little at 205-275-6441.