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“American Legion: 100 Years of Service” is the theme for this summer’s Marias Fair parades, honoring all of our veterans and celebrating a century of the American Legion. 

This year’s Grand Marshals are all veterans in the four-county area. Any veteran wishing to join in Saturday’s festivities is welcome and encouraged to do so. Anyone taking part in Saturday’s parade needs to be at the Old Middle School, on the corner of Sixth Ave. South and Main Street, at 10 a.m.

“If you are a veteran, it doesn’t matter if you belong to an organization or not, if you are a veteran you are more than welcome to come and walk with us,” said American Legion member Tim Duve. “There are vets from all four counties coming, we will be marching and carrying the colors. We also have a flatbed trailer, that is wheelchair accessible, for those who cannot walk the parade route. We have red, white and blue ribbons for the vets and we will be doing a special presentation right around US Bank. Any veteran who wants to be a part of this just needs to be at the Old Middle School at 10 a.m., Saturday morning.”

As in the past, two parades will take place on Main Street during the third week of July with the Kiddie Parade slated for Thursday, July 18, starting at 11 a.m., and Marias Fair parade on Saturday, July 20, at 11 a.m. 

Children of all ages are welcome to join the Kiddie Parade. Anyone wishing to participate simply needs to be at the old St. William’s School by 10:45 a.m. Thursday morning for line-up. 

Pets are welcome, so long as they are on a leash or otherwise properly restrained. Children can ride their bikes, scooters, drive battery-operated vehicles or walk the route from the Catholic Church to City Park. All participants are encouraged to dress up with the theme in mind, as your favorite character or hero, or come as you are, the choice is yours. The fantastic tradition of celebrating with ice cream at the end continues, thanks to the generosity of Hardee and Debbie Clark and the Marias Vet Clinic.

Anyone wishing to participate in Saturday’s parade will need to be ready to register and line-up an hour before the 11 a.m. start time. A registration table will be located outside of the old Middle School. The parade route will be the same as past years, down Main Street and then turning south on Montana Ave. for one block, then west on First Street South and continuing west back to Sixth Avenue. 

“We will be pausing for approximately five minutes into the parade, so the VFW/American Legion can make a presentation,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Doreen Mckelvey. “After this short pause, the parade will continue down Main Street.”

Mckelvey also reminds all parade participants driving vehicles that burnouts are not allowed on the parade route and if you are giving out candy, please do not throw it from you vehicle! The Chamber requests that you have someone walk alongside your vehicle, or float, to hand out candy to those attending the parade.

“Please have someone walk alongside your vehicle and hand out candy, rather than tossing it from the vehicle. The children’s safety is our number one concern,” said Mckelvey. “And not only are burnouts illegal, but also very dangerous for all the children who line the street, as well as the adult and elderly spectators and vehicles parked along the route.”

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