Thousands expected at Summerlin’s 20th Fourth of July parade

What started as neighborhood kids decorating bicycles with red, white and blue and riding along local streets has since evolved into bigger wheels, vibrant colors, and an expected audience of 35,000 this year.

The annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, the work of 2,500 volunteers, will recognize the 20th year of celebrating the nation’s independence on Friday with festive floats, local performers and even more neighborhood kids and adults.

The two-hour parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Trails in Summerlin. It will feature more than 70 patriotic and character-themed floats, marching bands, giant helium Macy’s-style balloons and community walking groups.

The Fourth of July is expected to be another hot day, with temperatures as high as 106 degrees, so parade officials are asking observers to take steps not to get overheated.

One of the parade’s floats, a three-tier red, white and blue cake sitting on a glittery gold flatbed, will be topped with the number 20 to honor the parade’s birthday. No, it is not edible.

The parade also will celebrate Nevada’s 150th year. This float brought them to their eligibility in recognizing the parade as part of the state’s official, yearlong sesquicentennial celebration.

Jennifer Wright, a schoolteacher at Bonner Elementary School and volunteer with the Summerlin Council, said they wanted to keep the float true to Nevada and make it representative of the Great Basin National Park, the only national park in Nevada.

The float uses earth-toned material to depict the mountain range as it surrounds a bright blue stream flowing in the center, signifying the water flow of the park. Gov. Brian Sandoval will ride the float during the parade.

The Summerlin Council and more than 500 volunteers have been preparing for this event since early January. Wright, who coordinates construction, material and props for the floats, said the biggest challenge is making sure people won’t be let down by what they see.

“We want to do our 20th justice,” Wright said. “We owe it all to the community.”

Wright also wants each storybook and cartoon character-themed float to be fun.

Parade-goers can expect to see new themed floats this year, including “Monster’s University,” “Angry Birds: Star Wars” and “Frozen,” which will close out the show.

A salute to the military float will feature Air Force Col. Brandon T. Snook, commander of the 99th Surgical Operations Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base who is the parade’s grand marshal.

“It’s important we remember as a community to honor the armed services,” said Tom Warden, senior vice president of the Summerlin Council.

The committee is aware of the heat-wave the valley is experiencing and though it is not their first parade in rough weather, they still strongly advise parade-goers to stay hydrated and shaded, to bring an umbrella and sunscreen, to wear light-colored clothing and watch out for each other.

Warden said workers will drive around and hand out water bottles to help people stay hydrated.

Contact Cassandra Taloma at ctaloma@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381.