Flags, families and thousands of veterans will line Main Street for the 53rd Auburn Veterans Parade on Saturday.
The parade begins at 11 a.m., part of a full day of events and activities honoring military members past and present.
Presenting more than 200 entries and nearly 6,000 participants, the parade will proceed west on Main from E Street Southeast to A Street Northwest, near Auburn City Hall, over a period of about 2½ hours.
The parade will include more than 25 marching bands and local Junior ROTC units, honor guards, military units and antique military vehicles. Spectators will also see the procession of veteran units, drill teams, community and scouting groups, intermixed with floats, antique and classic cars and other entries of interest.
This year’s parade pays special tribute to the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), which will be showcased at the front of the parade behind its chosen grand marshal, Francisco F. Ivarra. The VVA is the only national Vietnam veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families.
VVA’s goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans.
Spectators are advised to arrive early, bring a folding chair, a flag, their best salute and plenty of tissue.
The Muckleshoot Casino, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Wells Fargo and Boeing are supporting the parade.
Other activities on Saturday:
• 7-9:30 a.m. – American Legion Community Breakfast, Auburn Senior Activity Center, 808 Ninth St. SE
The breakfast is co-sponsored by the American Legion Post #78 and the City of Auburn. The breakfast is $7/person and includes pancakes, eggs, ham and juice or coffee.
• 9 a.m.-2 p.m. – Static Display & Exhibit Showcase, South Division Street and A Street SE, downtown displays, booths, food, military equipment, military vehicles and veterans and/or military information. Scheduled to participate in the exhibit are, among others, the Naval Air Museum, the Wounded Warrior Project and the Federal Way Vet Center. The Washington Army National Guard plans to bring its rock wall (weather dependent) and a variety of military vehicles and equipment. Among the agencies are the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide, the VFW Department of Washington, the Civil Air Patrol and more. A handful of food/beverage vendors will be included in the static display.
• 9:45-10:15 a.m. – Remembrance Ceremony and Lighting of the Flame, Veterans Memorial Park, 411 E St. NE.
The flame is lit and guarded through the night at the park. Wreath placement, rifle salute, prayers and taps encompass the special ceremony held just prior to the parade.
• 1-10 p.m. – Veterans Day High School Marching Band Competition, 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 25 bands performing in the field competition.
Awards and full band retreat at 9:30 p.m. Event admission is charged at the door.
• 1-5 p.m.– Auburn VFW Post 1741 Open House, Auburn VFW, 1525 A St. NE, Suite 107
The Post invites all veterans to come mix, meet and mingle. Food and refreshments will be served.
• 1:30-3 p.m. – Auburn Noon Lions Veterans Day Luncheon, Merrill Gardens at Auburn, 18 First St. SE
The luncheon is co-sponsored by the Auburn Noon Lions Club and the City of Auburn. Pre-reservations are $15/person and includes a variety of pastas, salad, rolls, desert and beverages.
The 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.
For more details, visit auburnwa.gov/vetsday.