BRANDON — This year’s Greater Brandon Fourth of July Parade will feature 101 units, including about 35 floats and at least 20 politicians, according to Marie Cain, who returns for a fourth year as parade chair.
“We have asked the politicians to bring something with them so they’re not just handing out papers, which kids don’t care for,” Cain said. “One candidate is bringing a drum line. Somebody else has baton twirlers.”
This year’s parade, Friday, has been an especially big draw for participants.
“I had to turn tons of people away because I didn’t have enough room on the road to line people up,” Cain said. “We can’t block off that many roads.”
Heading out to the parade, or passing by it? Here’s what you need to know.
♦The parade is set to kick off 10 a.m. at the corner of Parsons Avenue and Lumsden Road, with the color guard from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. From there, the parade heads north on Parsons Avenue, turns west on Robertson Road, crosses over Kings Avenue and ends at Buckingham Place. Disbanding is a bit farther west, in the parking lot of the shopping center anchored by Publix and the Burlington Coat Factory.
♦The parade is expected to end at 12:30 or 1 p.m.
♦In case of inclement weather, the parade will be canceled and there will be no rescheduling.
♦Staging for parade units and participants is set to begin 8 a.m. on Lumsden Road, between Kings and Parsons avenues. That section will be closed to traffic from 7:30 a.m. to around noon. Robertson Road, the final leg of the parade, does not close down until 9:15 a.m.
♦The reviewing stand is on Parsons Avenue, across from the Brandon Regional Hospital and in front of the strip shopping center that houses Nature’s Health.
♦This year’s theme, “Celebrating Brandon High School’s 100th Anniversary,” is a tribute to the 1914 founding of the Brandon School, the precursor to today’s Brandon High. The Brandon School was a school for students in grades 1 through 12 and was in operation on what is today’s McLane Middle School campus. At the parade, maroon beads will be handed out, in recognition of the Brandon High School colors, maroon and white.
♦Hazel McLean Henderson, a graduate from the class of 1932, has been designated the parade’s grand marshal. Returning as parade marshal is LaWayne Wyatt, who has served in that position for about 30 years.
♦About 80 to 100 deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will be on patrol at the parade, starting their day with an early morning Lake Brandon Village Chick-fil-A breakfast at their makeshift command center at Vonderburg Drive and Parsons Avenue.
♦The Community Roundtable, formerly known as the Presidents’ Roundtable or Roundtable Charities of Greater Brandon, has been involved with the parade — a signature event for the Greater Brandon Community — for close to 60 years. The Roundtable traces its roots to 1957, when the group was founded as an umbrella organization for the presidents of local charities to bring their interests together for the town’s greater good. The group today is open to civic- and volunteer-minded residents.
♦Recognized in the parade are the Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award recipient, Father of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year and Maureen Krzanowski Scholarship winner, all of which are bestowed by the Community Roundtable.
♦Veterans advocate Dave Braun, a former honorary mayor of Brandon, is this year’s Alice B. Tompkins award recipient.
♦Top dad, based on an essay by his daughter, Hannah, a student at Lithia Springs Elementary School, is John Rog.
♦The recognized nonprofit organization is the Brandon Elks Lodge.
♦The recipient of the scholarship named posthumously for Krzanowski, who was active with both the roundtable and the Brandon Lions Club, is Brandon-born Derek Frantz, a graduate of Jesuit High School and a former student of Nativity Catholic School.
♦Also riding in the parade will be the newly announced honorary mayor of Brandon, who will be determined 8 a.m. July 4 at the law offices of B. Lee Elam, at the corner of Lumsden Road and Parsons Avenue.
As is the tradition, the candidate who raises the most money in the month of June will be so designated, and announced on Elam’s sign in time for the start of the parade.
Vying to replace outgoing mayor Jack Bartlett are Judy Moore, running on behalf of the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association, and Liz Brewer, whose chosen charities are the Women’s Resource Center, the Greater Brandon Community Foundation and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Foundation.
♦Parade awards and honorary mayor checks will be announced and distributed July 9 at Center Place starting at 6:30 p.m. The Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association shares space with the Brandon Regional Library in the Sandy Rodriguez Center, at 619 Vonderburg Drive.
♦The rules of the parade are strictly enforced. “No squirt guns, no throwing of beads, no alcohol and no glass bottles;” those are the main things,” Cain said.
♦As for the parade’s aftermath, “If people would clean up after themselves that would be a great help,” Cain added. “We’ll have cardboard trash cans all along the route for people to use. It would be a big help because there are no big-city sweepers and we don’t want our volunteers to be out there until 5 o’clock cleaning up.”