It’s that time of year again.
Soon, the streets of Waynedale will be filled with marching bands, fire trucks, police cars, and holiday revelers, as the annual Memorial Day Parade rolls into town.
This year’s version is scheduled for Monday, May 29 at 9 a.m. The train of marchers and vehicles will start at the Waynedale Methodist Church, 2501 Church Street. Then, it will head up Old Trail Road, ending at the Prairie Grove Cemetery, 6321 Old Trail about an hour later.
According to organizer Joe Stockman, folks watching can expect to see a number of official vehicles and locals, including cruisers from the Fort Wayne Police Department, fire trucks from the Southwest Fire Department, ambulances, personal golf carts, hot rod cars, and motorcycles. Also set to march are cadets from the Wayne High School ROTC program, and the Wayne High School marching band.
Appearing as well will be troops from the local Boy and Girl Scout groups, and the AmVet Riders from AmVets Post 33, riding their souped-up motorcycles.
Anyone else wishing to join the procession is welcome, but they need to arrive at the church parking lot by about 8 a.m. on Monday to make sure organizers can figure out exactly where they’ll be marching in the parade, Stockman said.
Stockman noted that first responders such as police, fire and EMTs will lead the procession, so they can drive directly from Waynedale’s event to the holiday parade thrown by the city of Fort Wayne that snakes along Parnell Avenue and ends at the Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.
This year’s Waynedale event is sponsored by American Legion Post 241, who trades off running the parade each year with AmVets Post 33. That means – for this year – the lead marchers will be members of Post 241, which is located in Waynedale at 7605 Bluffton Road.
Once the procession arrives at the cemetery, a short program will be held honoring veterans and their memory. Scheduled to speak at the event is former local broadcaster for local NBC affiliate WKJG – 33, Kent Hormann, Stockman said.
If previous parades are any indication, you can count on hundreds of spectators lining the parade route to watch the event, some standing for a better view, many camped out on the sidewalk on lawn chairs they’ve brought from home.
“In past years, it’s been packed up and down the street,” Stockman said, “so we expect the same this year.”
And what if there’s inclement weather? Stockman said anything short of severe storms and the parade likely will proceed as planned. In the event of thunderstorms or lightning, and the parade will simply be canceled without rescheduling it.
Stockman, a 60-year-old Army veteran and Commander of AmVets Post 33, said the parade is not just about marking Memorial Day by honoring and remembering local veterans past and present, but also about getting the Waynedale community together in celebration.
“It’s a way to get the community gathered and have a good time,” Stockman said. “It also shows our support for first responders and veterans. “And I’d like to thank the Waynedale community for their support.”