By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Dozens of 4th of July parade participants gathered at the BISD Administration building for a mandatory pre-parade meeting at 10 am, on Saturday, June 17. Nelson Hutchinson is Parade Chairman for the second year.
“Everyone at this meeting today put in an application to be in the parade. We have about 145 entries. This is an information gathering session and today’s goal is to ensure that everyone involved in the parade understands how things are going to work,” said Hutchinson. “Our theme this year is ‘Freedom on Parade, ‘ and the entries will embody the theme somehow.”
Nicole Stairs, Programs Director for the Belton Chamber of Commerce, discussed the logistics of the parade with the attendees.
“Interested parties can still sign up to participate in the parade until June 23, with a $75 late fee. We are very grateful to UMHB for letting us stage on their campus. The City of Belton has been helpful and accommodating. Everything is coming along swimmingly – at this rate the parade will be larger than last year,” said Stairs. “Each entry must write their own commentary and keep it limited to 2-3 sentences. The commentary is what the announcers will read in regards to each entry, and it must be turned in by June 23. Please email commentaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Angellia Points, an employee with the City of Belton, showed parade participants maps highlighting the route and the staging areas.
“The entire parade route will be shut down at 9 am. People coming out to watch the parade need to get there earlier rather than later to get good seats,” said Points.
Safety was the focus of the presentation by SSG Hawkins, with Belton Police Department.
“At 7:30 am, Central, Main and Penelope will be closed down. The entire route will be closed at 9 am, and safety has to be the priority,” said Hawkins. “Liquids cannot be sprayed, and candy cannot be thrown or handed out. Vehicles must be driven safely and the highlighted route needs to be followed.”
The Foundation United Methodist Church has participated in the 4th of July parade for the last several years. Monique Redus and Kellianne Frazier were the church representatives in attendance Saturday.
“We will have a float with our youth praise team on it, and we are super excited about the parade and our entry. We are going to have a lot of fun decorating our float and getting things ready. This is always something we look forward to,” said Redus.
Eric Tovar, General Manager of the Belton HEB, was at the meeting with Operations Leader Pete Burson.
“HEB participates in the parade every year, and this is one of our favorite community events. We will have an 18-wheeler pulling a float. Our local Partners and their families are invited to participate in the parade. It has become an annual tradition for many of them,” said Tovar. “We look forward to the 4th of July parade, and it is a real honor to be a part of it.”
“HEB Buddy will be on board. The trailer arrives on June 20, and we will start decorating it then. This isn’t just a store event – we have lots of people helping out with it. We are excited to get started on the float,” said Burson.
Judging will take place before the Parade at UMHB Baseball Stadium parking lot. The Best of Show/Chairman’s Choice and Most Original/Best Representation of Theme will both receive a $500 cash prize. Trophies will be awarded for the other categories. The meeting concluded with parade participants receiving their line-up number, which indicates their line up area.