Flags, families and tens of thousands of spectators will line Main Street in Auburn for the 52nd annual Veterans Day Parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The parade proceeds west on Main Street from E Street to A Street Northwest near Auburn City Hall over a period of approximately 2½ hours.
A C-17 flyover from McChord Air Force base is anticipated to roar over Main Street at 11.
The City of Auburn celebrates the 51st anniversary of the signature event, which started in 1965. Over the years, Auburn’s Veterans Parade has become one of the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi River. The National Veterans Day Committee and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs selected Auburn as one of the few regional sites for Veterans Day observance this year.
Saturday’s parade will pay special tribute to the Fleet Reserve Association, which will be showcased at the front of the parade, following its chosen Grand Marshal, Jorge Ramirez. The Fleet Reserve is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit organization consisting of retired, active duty and veterans of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Fleet Reserve was chartered in 1924. The organization lobbies to preserve the benefits that have been awarded to the Naval Services, and it is active in community activities.
Auburn, a Vietnam War commemorative partner, also will pay special tribute to the service, valor and sacrifice of those who served in that war.
The parade features more than 200 entries and nearly 6,000 parade participants showcasing American strength of will, endurance and purpose. The parade will offer 30 marching bands, including the 56th First Corps Army Band, Navy Band Northwest and the 133D Washington National Guard Band.
Spectators will be treated to several local Junior ROTC units, honor guards, military units and antique military vehicles. Spectators will also enjoy the procession of veteran units, drill teams, community and scouting groups, intermixed with floats, antique and classic cars, and other entries of interest.
Spectators are advised to arrive early, bring a folding chair, a flag, their best salute and plenty of tissue.
Free, covered parking is available at the Auburn Transit Station parking garage and various lots and side streets in the downtown area.
Parade emcee, Morgan Chesky of KOMO 4 will be at the corner of Main and Division. KOMO’s Lee Stoll will emcee at the corner of Main and B Street NE.
For more information, visit auburnwa.gov, or call the City of Auburn Parks, Arts & Recreation Department at 253-931-3043.
Other Saturday events:
Auburn American Legion Post #78 Breakfast: 7-9:30 a.m., Auburn Senior Activity Center, 808 Ninth St. SE. Co-sponsored by the American Legion Post 78 and the City of Auburn. Cost: $7, including pancakes, eggs, ham and juice or coffee. Tickets area available in advance or at the door.
Static Display & Exhibit Showcase: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., South Division Street and A Street SE (perpendicular to parade route). Displays, booths, food, military equipment, military vehicles and veterans and/or military information.
Scheduled to participate in the showcase area among others: the U.S. Army, with Stryker vehicles; a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System; and cargo trucks. The Washington Army National Guard plans to bring its rock wall (weather dependent) and a variety of vehicles.
Among the other agencies are the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide; the Federal Way Vet Center; the VFW Department of Washington; and the Civil Air Patrol. A handful of food and beverage vendors will be included in the display area, including Fisher Fair Scones; KC Deez BBQ Truck; and Tastyz Kettle Corn.
Remembrance Ceremony and Lighting of the Flame: 9:45- 10:15 a.m., Veterans Memorial Park, 411 E St. NE. The flame is lit and guarded throughout the night. Patriotic music, an honor guard, a 21-gun salute, prayers and taps encompass a special ceremony.
Veterans Day High School Marching Band Competition: 1-10 p.m., Auburn Memorial Stadium, 801 Fourth St. NE. One of the state’s largest marching band and field competitions, hosted by the Auburn High School Band & Choir Parents. Showcases more than 30 bands competing in the field competition. Awards and full band retreat at 9:30 p.m. Event admission is charged at the gate. Discount ticket prices available for students, children and seniors.
Auburn Noon Lions Veterans Day Luncheon: 1:30-3:00 p.m., Merrill Gardens, Auburn, 18 First St. SE. Co-sponsored by the Auburn Noon Lions Club and the City of Auburn.
Lunch program honors veterans, with special recognition given to dignitaries in attendance.
The Governor’s Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee’s Outstanding Veterans will be honored, along with other special presentations. For additional information or to reserve seats, call 253-931-3043.
VFW Auburn Post 1741 Open House: 3-5 p.m., 1525 A St. NE, Suite 107. Post welcomes all veterans.