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WATCH NOW: Kenosha parade has new route (and candy)
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SUNDAY AFTERNOON

WATCH NOW: Kenosha parade has new route (and candy)

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Are you ready to cheer on floats, marching bands, local pageant queens — and a city bus?

If you answered yes, you’re all set for Sunday’s Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade.

The biggest news about this year’s parade is that it’s happening.

After 2020’s parade was canceled due to COVID-19 — and the 2019 parade was largely rained out — organizer Kris Kochman is looking forward to a fun event (with no rain spoiling the party).

“This will be our first full-on parade since 2018,” said Kochman, the city’s community relations liaison person. “The 2019 storm rained out a lot of the acts and bands, though the Kenosha Pops Band kept playing, as did Band of the Black Watch, but we’re hoping for good weather on Sunday.”

New route

The biggest change this year, of course, is the parade’s new route.

Instead of starting on 22nd Avenue and 60th Street in Uptown, the parade will step off from Washington Road and Seventh Avenue.

“This change was already in the works due to scheduled road construction,” Kochman said. “That project is on hold, but because of the Uptown damage and rebuilding work, the parade won’t start there.”

Instead, the parade route takes Seventh Avenue south into the Downtown area, heading toward Library Park.

“We like having the parade go through the heart of Downtown,” Kochman said.

Her advice: Don’t watch the parade from Library Park — the parade ends there, on the west side of the park — if you enjoy hearing bands play. “People might be disappointed if they’re sitting there,” Kochman explained. “It’s at the end of the parade, and the groups are getting ready to disband there.”

Two city parks are along the route — Union Park, 4500 Seventh Ave., and Veterans Memorial Park, 625 52nd St. — offering great viewing options. Also, the parade will only take up the southbound lane of Seventh Avenue, so parade watchers can set up chairs and blankets on the avenue’s median, too.

“There are a lot of good spots for watching the parade,” Kochman said. “I think it will fill up nicely, with neighbors along the route lining the streets and people gathering in the parks and at the harbor and in Downtown.”

Candy!

Also new this year: Parade participants are allowed to hand out — but not toss — candy to spectators along the parade route.

The City Council approved this change to a city ordinance on Monday, Kochman said.

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“People have asked about this for years,” she said, “and other parades hand out candy.”

Because the change happened so close to the parade date, however, Kochman cautions that this year’s event may not be a candy-filled extravaganza.

“I sent a message out right away to all parade participants that they can hand out candy, but it will probably catch on more in 2022,” she predicts.

Bikes!

The community bike parade — a new addition in 2015 — is back for more fun on two wheels.

All ages are welcome to participate, but you must be able to ride two miles without stopping.

To join the fun, simply show up by 12:30 p.m. Sunday (on a bicycle) at Washington Road and Seventh Avenue. Note: No walking/jogging is allowed in the bike parade.

“The nice thing is, people can decide at the last minute to participate,” Kochman said. “There’s no signup required; you just show up on Sunday.”

Parade highlights

Pre-parade group: American Legion Riders (District 1), VFW Post 1865 riders, the Community Bike Parade, American Legion Post 21 Color Guard and those fire and police department vehicles. Also in the “pre-parade” — which is actually the start of the parade — are classic cars from local car clubs and the Kenosha History Center.

First Division: The Lutheran Vanguard of Wisconsin marching band leads off this division. Marching bands are in short supply this summer, due to COVID-19, so make sure to cheer them on! You can also wave to Miss Kenosha Alex Daher and the Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans. The parade’s theme is “A Centennial Celebration: Women’s Right to Vote,” and this Division features Kenosha Women Marching for the Vote and a float from the Danish Sisterhood of America depicting “Women and their Bicycles.” (Bicycles represented freedom for women, allowing them to travel to jobs and other places.) Also in this division is local band Lunde — a rock group, not a marching band. A crowd favorite, the Jesse White Tumbling Team, wraps up the First Division.

Second Division: This is the division you want to watch for. And I’m not just saying that because this is where you’ll find me in the parade Sunday, riding with the rest of the Kenosha Pops Concert Band and playing polkas and marches (though that is a good reason). This is also the division featuring the Navy Club of Kenosha Ship No. 40, the Bradford High School Cheerleading Team’s float, the band Auto-American and Miss Bristol Haley Gorsuch.

Third Division: You can sing along with The Greasers on their float and the band Vertigo, marvel at the precision of the Elite Striders Drill Team and feel a chill run up your spin from Dr. Destruction’s Crimson Theatre.

Fourth Division: Marching band fans, this one’s for you: the River City Rhythm drum and bugle corps from Anoka, Minn., joins our local parade. We’re also hoping to see some adorable critters with the Care Animal Hospital entry. And bringing up the rear: a city bus!

Don’t rain on our parade

Of course, the most important thing on any parade day is the weather. There is a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms Sunday, but hopefully the skies will stay clear.

“I never worry about rain,” Kochman said, “because there’s nothing we can do about the weather. We’ve cut it close a few times and got drenched in 2019, but the parade still continued that year. People were still watching, too; they probably figured ‘we’re wet anyway, so we may as well stay.’

“I’m hoping for perfect parade weather: Moderate temperatures and no rain.”

Have a comment? Email Liz at esnyder@kenoshanews.com, or call her at 262-656-6271.

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