Imagine being a child and riding your bike down the center of Lakewood Boulevard, passing thousands of cheering onlookers.

It can happen at the annual Lakewood Fourth of July Parade, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 3, at the corner of Cambria and Lakewood.

Parade chairman Gary Weed welcomes all ages: toddlers through senior citizens, whether in a three-wheeler, two-wheeler or antique car, to take part in this year’s “Lakewood Salutes Sports Heroes” theme parade.

Parade participants should assemble at Cambria and Lakewood at 9:15 a.m. and dress and decorate their entries to match the theme. Prizes will be given in 15 categories, including most patriotic costume, most original costume, best motorized vehicle, and best two-wheeler.

Following the parade, which travels down Lakewood Boulevard to Williamson Park, adjacent to the Tokalon tennis courts, free refreshments will be served.

Weed describes the parade as “spontaneous neighborhood involvement.”

Bill Duryee, a sales executive and the self-proclaimed honorary mayor of Lakewood, understands tradition and the uniqueness of this parade.

More than two decades ago, about 14 children rode their bikes one block down Lakewood Boulevard. From that humble beginning in 1970, the parade now has about 500 entrants and lasts from 30 to 45 minutes.

Even though the parade has grown, Duryee says, “it has remained non-commercial and a neighborhood parade with children as the primary participants.”

Today, many of the onlookers once were child participants. For example, each year, the Texas Tech alumni marching band organizes a reunion party to coincide the parade.

Duryee, who sports an Uncle Sam costume each year, says his favorite parades include the year of the best pet contest, when hundreds of four-legged entrants moved bravely between bikes and children, as well as the year a tractor-trailer sunk near the Tokalon tennis courts following heavy rains.

The parade is organized by a group of Lakewood residents, all volunteers. They receive donations from area organizations and businesses such as the Dixie House-Lakewood, Lakewood Country Club, Whiteside Associates, Realtors, Group One Realtors, Chicago Title, Comerica Bank, Wyatt’s Cafeteria and the Lakewood Homeowner’s Association.

For information or to volunteer, call 320-1425.

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