Whether you’re in Derby’s Fourth of July parade or watching, event organizer Jay Boyle has a piece of advice: get there early, because this year is going to be a crowded one.
That’s fine with Boyle and his fellow volunteers at VFW Post 7253, which is sponsoring the event. After all, it’s all about a community celebration.
Boyle expects a lot of excitement in the air, with it being the city’s 150th anniversary and the opening of its new fire station at the corner of Madison and Woodlawn, near the start of the parade route.
The parade’s theme is “Happy Sesquicentennial” to go with the 150th anniversary.
It starts at 10 a.m., with Boyle emphasizing a time frame they intend to stick to.
For entries, Boyle asks that they enter the middle school parking lot from Market.
“We don’t want people trying to come in from Madison,” he said.
The check-in process of trying to get everyone lined up is “controlled chaos,” he said, but just be patient and the process will work just fine.
He expects about 40 entries and will accept last-minute entries; however, June 27 is the firm deadline for any entry that wants to be judged.
Attendees are welcome to make themselves comfortable along the route, which goes west on Madison from Woodlawn down to Georgie, then south to Market and east back to the school.
The judges will be positioned in front of The Derby Informer. They are: Dion Avello, Lindsay Dearduff, Tom Keil, John McIntosh and Edie Shuff.
While there’s no guarantee, of course, the parade has had a history of good weather, and Boyle doesn’t expect that to be any different. Check the forecast, and bring water and sunscreen as needed, officials say.
One somewhat frustrating aspect of having a parade in the middle of the summer is it’s difficult to get a school’s band in it since its members and leaders are out for the season, Boyle said.
“We’ve never had a marching band and I’ve always thought that was one thing the parade was missing,” he said.
That’s why he’s pleased to have the Wichita Caledonian Pipes and Drums group, which has been called the “premier performance and competition pipe band in south central Kansas.”
“They’ve committed to the parade, so we’re looking forward to that,” he said.
While the DHS band won’t be there, the school’s Air Force JROTC unit, led by Col. Michael Dillard, will be back and will be carrying the colors.
Representatives from McConnell Air Force Base also will be in the parade along with the ever-popular Shriners and their mini-vehicles.
There also will be square dancers, which are a favorite, local politicians running for mayor and city council, and Derby Fire and Rescue Department personnel. Churches also are a part of the event.
“Aviator Church always puts in a big appearance,” he said.
There will limited parking at Derby Middle School, so officials are urging people wanting to attend the open house to park at Madison Avenue Central Park and either walk the two blocks or take the Derby Dash shuttle to the fire station.
Boyle has never undertaken an official count of parade attendance, but knows it’s a popular event for the city’s residents and visitors, he said.
The forms to enter can be found on the VFW website www.vfw7253.org under news and events. Mail or email all entries to Fourth of July Parade Committee, c/o: VFW Post 7253, 101 S. Baltimore, Derby, KS 67037 or email@example.com.
For questions or comments, contact Boyle at 316-761-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.