For the first time since 2012, the Douglas County Veterans Day Parade will be held on Sunday in downtown Roseburg. Several thousand people are expected to attend the event, billed as the second largest in Oregon.
This year’s event will feature grand marshals from aviation and support in the military and the themes is “Keeping Branches of Our Military Moving." Organizer Carol Hunt said they expect several veterans to be riding in Corvettes and on a special float to be honored as grand marshals.
“We’ll have a lot of Air Force, and anybody that was involved with aviation or aviation support are all welcome,” Hunt said.
Because the parade will be held Sunday, Hunt said Kingsley Air force Base in Klamath Falls won’t send any jets for a flyover this year. A fly-over U.S. Coast Guard fly-over, weather permitting.
As of Wednesday, there were 70 entries registered, but Hunt says normally, many show at on the morning of the event and register. She said entrants will have to fill out a liability form to be in the parade, then get a number and line-up. No politics are allowed and no religion.
The parade route will start at the corner of Southeast Fowler Street and go north to Diamond Lake Boulevard. It will go up Northeast Jackson Street to Southeast Lane Avenue and onto Southeast Main Street. Then the route goes back to Douglas before heading back to the staging area.
All branches of the military will be represented, and some new floats are expected this year. A Valiant Seed Tiny Home, designed to provide housing for women veterans will be featured in the parade.
The Oregon version of the Vietnam Wall with side panels honoring Oregon soldiers who died in action during Desert Storm will be displayed as well.
4-H Club dogs and police K-9 dogs will be marching, and Santa will make an early appearance in Roseburg. Volunteers will pass out flags, and students from schools will be passing out candy on the parade route.
Hunt said having the parade on Sunday has not made much difference in the number of entries. And the Marshfield High School marching band, which has been a regular entrant over the years, had not registered as of Wednesday. The Roseburg High School marching band will be back again this year. But organizers did have some concerns expressed by local churches because of the parade being at 11 a.m. on a Sunday, the same time many of the churches are having services.
“We’ve had some kickback from the churches,” she said. “But it’s Veterans’ Day.”
Judging of the entries will take place at the judge’s stand in front of the Elks Lodge during the parade, and awards will be announced the following week.
“We always want people to come out and support the veterans, and I think we put on a darn good parade,” Hunt said. “We may be the second largest veterans parade, but we’re the best.”