Veterans Day parade ready to move downtown
PRESCOTT - In an effort to raise the event's profile and get the community more involved, the annual Veterans Day Parade will move this year from the VA Medical Center to downtown Prescott.
The parade will take place at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, and will circle the downtown area.
For most of the past decade and longer, the parade has occurred at the VA off Highway 89. Medical Center Director Donna Jacobs said the location has sometimes served to limit the size and accessibility of the parade.
"Perhaps the numbers (of attendees) may be up this year," Jacobs said, adding that the downtown venue should also help to raise awareness in the community. "There are actually people who don't even know we have a parade," she said.
City officials say the downtown streets will be able to handle more spectators that the VA grounds.
"Hopefully, it will open up a larger viewing area for people to come out and truly honor our veterans," Special Events Manager Becky Karcie said.
Mayor Marlin Kuykendall agreed, noting that the VA location was "too confining." He added: "The VA extended an offer to the city" to take on the parade.
Just prior to the parade - at 10:30 a.m. - the city plans an opening ceremony, with Kuykendall introducing the speaker and grand marshals (who have yet to be determined).
Karcie said past parades have included more than 50 entries, and she is hoping to get at least that many for this year's event. She asks anyone who is interested to call her office at 777-1349 to request an application.
Already, this year's parade has attracted interest from a number of high school marching bands, Karcie said.
Although most of the previous Veterans Day parades have taken place at the VA, Jacobs pointed out that major road construction on Highway 89 caused one of the recent parades to take place at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
"We had a much greater turnout that year," Jacobs said, adding that the VA was able to transport many of its nursing home patients to the event. She expects the same thing to happen this year.
Primarily, Jacobs and Karcie say the move to downtown will allow the community to demonstrate its continued support for veterans.
"The veterans in this community are greatly supported by the community," Jacobs said. "This will allow the community to show its support."
Karcie said the parade would follow basically the same route used by the annual Holiday Light Parade - along Willis, Cortez, Goodwin, and Montezuma streets.