Like most public events in the Las Vegas Valley these days, the Summerlin Patriotic Parade will have a Vegas Golden Knights connection this year.
The 24th annual Patriotic Parade, organized by the Summerlin Council, will start at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in The Trails village of Summerlin, at the corner of Hillpointe Road and Hills Center Drive. From there, it will wend its way to the finish near the corner of Trailwood Drive and Spring Gate Lane.
Among the new additions to the parade this year will be a “Vegas Golden Knights: Vegas Born, Vegas Strong” float bearing Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland.
Engelland, his wife, Melissa, and children will ride the float and will be accompanied by the team’s Golden Aces cheerleading squad, the KnightLine drummers and the Golden Knight character, said Summerlin Council spokeswoman Lisa Robinson.
Spencer Day, a parade volunteer, said the Knights float will help keep the parade in growth mode.
“Once I realized we have a professional sports team, I’m like “We need to have them in the parade; we got to do whatever we can to get them in,’” he said. “That’s the best thing for the parade to keep growing and become bigger and bigger each year.”
Day, 22, grew up with the parade. By the time he was 10 his parents were taking him to see the colorful floats and balloons every Fourth of July. For the past four years he’s helped build those floats for current kids to enjoy.
“It allows all the families in Summerlin and in the Vegas community to relax, have fun and start a yearly family tradition to see something that they’ve never seen before,” he said.
On Monday Day was helping staple shiny gold-and-black floral sheeting to a trailer with a giant Golden Knight head on top. Volunteers also set up a fountain for the “Moana” float and decorated sparkling, rotating clouds on a float themed on the movie “Up.”
Another new float this year is “Hamilton’s America,” inspired by the Broadway musical “Hamilton.” Perched on top of a gold star is a platform from which students from Palo Verde High School will sing songs from the musical during the parade.
The floats, mostly between 20 feet to 30 feet long and eight feet wide, typically take about a month to complete, Day said.
Jennifer Wright, another volunteer, has helped organize the parade for 12 years. She’s watched it grow from a small community event to a large annual attraction in the Las Vegas Valley, expected to draw 40,000 people this year.
“Now the whole entire start line is packed full of people,” the 36-year-old teacher said. “It’s pretty magical that day.”
More than 500 volunteers like Day and Wright will work all morning Wednesday to coordinate the 2,500 parade participants in 70 entries, which include floats, giants balloons, music groups and marching bands.
Wright said despite the months of planning and hard work in the desert sun, she’s happy to continue volunteering every year.
“We do it for our community,” she said. “It’s seeing all the hard work pay off when we’re down at the start line, that’s the best feeling.”
Contact Katelyn Newberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.