Elementary school teacher Jennifer Wright has been volunteering with the Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade for a decade — the same amount of time that she has been teaching.
Like teaching, helping with the parade is a labor of love for Wright, 34, a fifth-grade teacher at Bonner Elementary School.
“I get to use a whole different part of my brain and I get to be creative, and seeing the look of the faces on the crowd is so rewarding. These people are family,” she said.
It takes a lot of organization to stage the popular Fourth of July event, sponsored by The Howard Hughes Corp. of Summerlin, Children’s Medical Center at Summerlin Hospital and Station Casinos, among others. The event, now in its 22nd year, is expected to draw more than 2,500 participants and 35,000 spectators.
Wright, one of 600 volunteers who help with the event, puts in her fair share of work.
She supervises construction plans, organizes materials, ensures pieces are intact, designs and coordinates with builders in California for some of the more flamboyant floats and keeps tabs on others that are reusable. On parade day, she assembles and stages the balloon division from the moment it starts moving at 9 a.m. to the moment it stops, usually before 11:30 a.m.
The bulk of her work takes place as soon as school gets out for the summer and finishes a week after the parade. But it’s not uncommon for planning to begin with phone calls as early as January, she said.
The parade will start at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Hillpointe Road and Hills Center Drive, wend its way through Village Center Circle, then travel west on Trailwood Drive before ending at the corner of Trailwood Drive and Spring Gate Lane. Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Drinkard and Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt will start off as dignitaries.
The Summerlin parade is far from the only way to celebrate over the Independence Day holiday weekend.
Across the valley, near Henderson, Lake Las Vegas plans to commemorate the Fourth of July a day early on Sunday with activities and performances, including two fireworks shows and a performance by the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. For more information, visit www.lakelasvegas.com.
In Boulder City, the 68th Damboree Celebration starts Monday with a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast at Bicentennial Park, 1100 Colorado St.
A Wells Fargo stagecoach will enliven this year’s parade, which starts at 9 a.m. at Colorado Street, travels down Nevada Highway to Fifth Street and proceeds to Broadbent Memorial Park at Avenue B and Sixth Street. Booths and activities will take place at Broadbent Park. The Veterans Memorial Park activities start at 4 p.m. with the fireworks show at 9 p.m., Monday.
Henderson will hold that city’s annual Fourth of July Celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. at Mission Hills Park, 551 E. Mission Drive. The event includes live entertainment, concessions and a fireworks display.
At Cashman Field, the Las Vegas 51s will present an Independence Day fireworks extravaganza after the game Monday against the Salt Lake Bees.
A variety of free celebrations and fireworks displays also are slated at several casino properties. Here are a few:
A fireworks display commemorating both Independence Day and Station Casinos’ 40th anniversary will light up the night sky above Palace Station, 2411 W. Sahara Ave., at 9 p.m. Friday. This year’s special event is in lieu of the annual July 4th fireworks shows held at Station Casinos’ Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch properties.
Caesars Palace hosts a free Independence Day Weekend Block Party from noon to midnight Friday through Sunday at The Roman Plaza and Spanish Steps in front of the resort. It culminates at 9 p.m. Sunday with a Red Bull Air Force skydiving performance and a fireworks display.
The Stratosphere will launch its annual fireworks display from several locations, including the top of the tower, at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Contact Tatiana Villamil at email@example.com or 702-383-0264. Find @7atianaV on Twitter.