Neighbors can celebrate Lakewood’s Fourth of July parade by traveling to another era this year, as the theme is “Lakewood’s Time Machine.” Lakewood Fourth of July parade committee member Carol Hensley says that theme can be interpreted however it needs to be, but one thing is for sure: the floats, parade and overall spirit will be honoring longtime volunteer Vickie Thompson, who passed away after last year’s parade.
Thompson’s close friends will lead the parade with a float that honors the neighborhood mother and volunteer. Her many jobs had to be divvied between committee members this year. Thompson left a logistical and emotional hole in the planning committee, as her ability to accomplish a great deal was only matched by her magnanimous spirit. “There will probably be a lot of Vickie-focused type of floats,” Hensley says. “That is what we are hoping for.”
“Lakewood’s Time Machine” emerged from an online survey as the overwhelming favorite, Hensley says, and allows for many decorative options.
The parade began more than 50 years ago when three families on Lakewood Boulevard dressed up their children in patriotic attire to ride bikes down the street for a couple of blocks. It later expanded to include participants from further down the street. Today the event spans blocks with thousands of spectators and participants. Over the years, the parade established its current route, which runs from the intersection of Lakewood and Cambria to Tokalon Park.
This year’s iteration will, of course, include the third unofficial Mayor of Lakewood, Al See, who can be found in his traditional Uncle Sam garb, as well as numerous floats from school groups, extracurricular activities, scouting groups and more. Neighbors are welcome to participate by lining up at 9:15 a.m. at the starting point. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. and ends with snow cones, drinks, t-shirts and fun in the park. Awards will be given for 15 different categories of floats. There will also be a 1.2 mile fun run which starts at 8 a.m., runs the parade route and costs $10.
For more information, to help judge floats, sign up to run or donate to the cause, click here.
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