The Red, White and Blue will adorn Fourth of July Parade
By Joe Olvera ©, 2010
The float with the huge lion on board will, once again, greet parade-goers at the Del Norte Lion’s Club’s 31st Annual Fourth of July parade on, of course, Fourth of July. Frank Ramirez, secretary/treasurer of the Del Norte Lion’s Club said that the parade is probably the oldest in El Paso, because it’s been held since 1979.
“We’re the oldest, because, for 31 years, we’ve grown from a few spectators to more than 10,000 today,” Ramirez said. “We’ve also grown from about 25 floats and other entries to more than 130.”
Prepping for this year’s event is both a difficult process, and a labor of love. “Sure, there’s a lot of work involved, but, hundreds of volunteers help get the show on the road. The payoff is the gratitude expressed by the participants and the spectators. The parade is our biggest event, but, we also feature other events, some of them are meant as fundraisers so that we can continue our charitable work, but, the parade is totally free.”
Some of those events include a yearly golf tournament, soliciting donations, and the Club’s Casino Night Program. The money raised helps support such special charitable programs as providing transportation for children to the Texas Lion’s Camp for Children with Disabilities, the Lion’s Southwest Eye Health Foundation, in which children are fitted with new eyeglasses, the Hearing and Speech Clinic Examinations, and other activities, including scholarships, throughout the year.
The parade on the Fourth will start at 9 a.m. and will culminate at 11 a.m. The route starts at Hanks High School, at the corner of Lee Trevino and Montwood, and finishes at Album Park. “We will have, of course, Leon Blevins in his perennial and inspiring costume as Uncle Sam, and State Rep. Joe Pickett, riding atop his vintage fire truck, with siren blasting along the parade route.
“We will also feature cheerleaders, high school bands, vintage automobiles, euro cars, and, even, low-riders, a Sheriff’s Posse, veteran’s groups, and, politicians who represent the Eastside,” Ramirez said. “Last year, we featured, as Parade Grand Marshals, the Socorro Bulldogs – the Texas State Baseball Champions from Socorro High School.”
One unique aspect of this parade is that spectators are invited to march along with parade participants. “This truly is the ‘people’s parade,’ Ramirez said. “Everybody is encouraged to participate by walking alongside the marching bands and all the other entrants, including, of course, Old Glory. It wouldn’t be a Fourth of July Parade without the presence of our beautiful Red, White, and Blue American Flag.”