weather icon Clear

Summerlin July 4th parade marching strong after 25 years

When Lezlie Barnson-DeNardin helped organize the second annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade in 1995, she and her husband helped lead a group of children on bikes and in wagons decorated with red, white and blue streamers.

The only other participant that year in the parade, which then traveled from the Summerlin Library to the Trails Park, was an Uncle Sam character on stilt, she said.

Twenty-three years later, the parade is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Thursday morning, with organizers promising its largest and most elaborate display of floats and performances yet.

“From the very beginning, it was a collective community experience,” said Barnson-DeNardin, director of community relations for the Summerlin Council. “Summerlin was so small as a community, and as it grew, so did the parade.”

The Summerlin Council organizes the Independence Day parade, and The Howard Hughes Corporation/Summerlin is the parade’s title sponsor of the parade.

This year’s parade’s escort and dignitary division kicks off at 8:30 a.m. from Hillpointe Road and Hills Center Drive, followed by the main body of the parade at 9 a.m. The route travels along Hills Center, tracing the southeast edge of The Trails Park, wrapping around part of Village Center Circle and ending on Trailwood Drive.

Cheers to 25 years

This parade theme this year is “celebration,” and it honors not only the event’s 25th year but also other famous anniversaries, such as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, Barnson-DeNardin said.

Among the 25 giant inflatable balloons and more than 70 floats in the parade are multiple floats added in recognition of its anniversary, including the Cheers to 25 Years float, designed to put parade attendees “in the middle of a fireworks display,” Barnson-DeNardin said.

The float will feature performances from the Desert Angels gospel choir and the UNLV Scarlet Dance Line, which Barnson-DeNardin said will turn the float into a mobile concert.

Special floats added for the 25th anniversary include the Apollo Moon Landing 50th Anniversary float, Mary Poppins’ Jolly Holiday, Soaring with Dumbo, Mamma Mia Dance Party and The Wiz: Ease on Down the Road.

Avree Walker, production coordinator for the Performing and Visual Arts Summer Camp for Kids putting on the production of “The Wiz,” said students have been preparing for three weeks and will perform two songs during the parade.

Less than a week before the parade, the students spent Thursday afternoon practicing dance moves and putting finishing touches on their performance.

“A lot of them already love the music from ‘The Wiz’ and love the story,” Walker said. “To be able to re-introduce it to the students in this program has been really fun.”

Col. Cavan Craddock, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, will serve as the parade’s grand marshal. Gov. Steve Sisolak and Nevada first lady, Kathy Sisolak, also will take part in the parade.

The Vegas Golden Knights-themed float will return for another year, with Knights forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Ryan Reaves on board. Also making appearances are Las Vegas Aces players A’ja Wilson and Jackie Young, and mascots from the Las Vegas Aviators.

Barnson-DeNardin said that through its growth, the parade has come to represent and celebrate not only the Summerlin community, but also Las Vegas in general as more residents have become involved over the years.

Perennial participant

Troy Gallo began volunteering in the parade as a freshman in college, and has continued for 16 years, taking on roles from driving floats to choreographing a flash mob.

“If they have a crazy idea, they usually give me a call and I’m always down for it,” Gallo said.

In his time volunteering, Gallo said he has seen the floats become increasingly elaborate and “come alive” with elements such as bubbles, confetti and, one year, a moving flying carpet on an Aladdin float. But even with its increasing grandeur, the parade always manages to capture “the heart of the community,” he said.

This parade is anticipated to be the largest yet, in both attendance and size, Barnson-DeNardin said. There will be 2,500 participants and 500 volunteers in the parade, with more than 40,000 paradegoers lining the route. Dozens of local schools and community groups will participate in the parade or assist with parade operations.

Despite the growth and changes over the year, the parade hasn’t lost touch with its traditions, Barnson-DeNardin said.

Just like the first parade, kids on bikes will kick off Thursday’s parade, and don’t be surprised to see Uncle Sam there too.

“No matter how big the parade has become,” Barnson-DeNardin said, “it still has the charm of a small town parade, just now with big city pageantry.”

Contact Amanda Bradford at abradford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Follow @amandabrad_uc on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Mom launches school lunch petition
Lacey Steinmetz, the mother of a Clark County elementary student, doesn’t think students have enough time to eat lunch. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Completion of pedestrian bridge delayed on Las Vegas Strip
The latest pedestrian bridge being built over the Las Vegas Strip, between Park MGM and Showcase Mall, has had it completion date pushed to November. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeopardy! James competes with G2E attendees
Jeopardy! champ James Holzhauer, appears at the G2E IGT booth to help celebrate launch of Jeopardy! slot machines and compete against attendees in mock games of Jeopardy!
Security guard killed in Las Vegas shooting honored
Lucky's unexpected surprise
The Ball family, who already deals with challenges most families don’t, got an unexpected surprise from a security systems worker, who brought more than just peace of mind, he brought love to one lucky little boy.
Gilcrease pumpkin patch is open - VIDEO
Gilcrease Orchard's pumpkin patch is now open for the season. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas firefighters battle a fire in a commercial area - VIDEO
Clark County and Las Vegas firefighters battle a fire in a commercial area at 824 E. Sahara Ave. in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse of RiSE Las Vegas festival - VIDEO
This is a time-lapse video during the sixth annual RiSE Las Vegas festival at the Jean dry lake bed on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lanterns released into Nevada desert as part of RiSE Festival - VIDEO
Thousands of spectators released giant lanterns into the sky at a dry lake bed near Jean, Nev., Sunday night as part of the RiSE festival. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Halloween Parade at Downtown Summerlin - VIDEO
Halloween festivities are in full swing at Downtown Summerlin with the first week of the month-long parade. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Funeral procession for Robbie James Pettingill - VIDEO
A motorcade of Henderson fire and police personnel escort the body of firefighter Robbie James Pettingill past Fire Station 82 and Fire Station 97, where he was last assigned, to Central Christian Church on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Failure not an option for Mayor Carolyn Goodman facing breast cancer - VIDEO
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and her oncologist talk about Goodman's second bout with breast cancer. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hacienda bridge closures for events at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
The bridge at Hacienda Avenue over Interstate 15 will be closed during major events at Allegiant Stadium. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Backyard Adventures at the Springs Preserve - VIDEO
"Backyard Adventures" is the latest temporary exhibit at the Springs Preserve. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Parents of teens who were killed in California crash visited the crash site - VIDEO
Parents of Las Vegas teens who were killed in a fiery crash last year in Huntington Beach, Calif., visited the crash site on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutefsya
Bani Duarte convicted in California crash that killed 3 Las Vegas teens - VIDEO
Bani Duarte, the drunken driver who caused a fiery crash in Huntington Beach, California, last year that killed three Las Vegas teens, was convicted of second-degree murder on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wrap-up of Oct. 1 observances - VIDEO
A wrap-up of memorials and observances on the second anniversary of the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, Oct. 1, 2019. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Victims of Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas remembered - VIDEO
Remembrance video honors the 58 people who were killed at the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Clark County)
UNLV music program rings bell 58 times to remember victims of Oct. 1 shooting - Video
UNLV music students will ring a set of chimes 58 times in honor of the victims of the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Memorial bench unveiled at North Las Vegas park to honor Route 91 victims and survivors - VIDEO
The family of Route 91 victim Neysa Tonks worked with the city of North Las Vegas to erect a memorial bench overlooking a pond at Craig Ranch Regional Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gov. Steve Sisolak and Joe Robbins Speak at Oct. 1 Remembrance Ceremony - Video
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and Joe Robbins speak to the crowd at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater to remember the victims of the 1 Oct. shooting that occurred in 2017 at the Route 91 festival. (Michael Quine and Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Day 6 of Bani Duarte trial in California
Police say Bani Duarte, 29, was drunk when she drove into a car carrying four Las Vegas teens, killing three, in Huntington Beach, California on March 29, 2018. She is being tried on murder charges in Santa Ana. (Renee Summeropur/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Troy and Shannon Zeeman talk about life after Oct 1 shooting - VIDEO
Troy and Shannon Zeeman of Garden Grove, California, discuss life after Oct 1 shooting in Las Vegas. The couple started Security Consultant Zeeman, dedicated to active shooter preparedness training. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reflecting on Oct. 1: How Metro officers saved a life
Oct. 1 was the second day on the job for Officer Brandon Engstrom who saved a critically injured woman amid the chaos of the Route 91 shooting. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Healing Garden remains a gathering place
It's been two years since the mass shooting of Oct. 1, and the Healing Garden has grown and evolved. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate fatal crash - VIDEO
Las Vegas police investigate fatal crash at the intersection of West Sahara Avenue and Steve Rigazio Court in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Reflecting on Oct. 1: How one officer saved a life
Oct. 1 was the second day on the job for Officer Brandon Engstrom who saved a critically injured woman amid the chaos of the Route 91 shooting. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
76 animals confiscated from North Las Vegas home - VIDEO
Service dogs, birds, a pig and other animals were confiscated from the North Las Vegas home of an animal activist and former actress. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mother, child and 41 dogs rescued after North Las Vegas house fire - VIDEO
North Las Vegas PIO Patrick Walker talks about a house fire in North Las Vegas where a mother, her child and 41 dogs were rescued on Sept. 24, 2019. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Miracle Flights greets patient ambassador Michael Perrino in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The Miracle Flights team welcomes 16-year-old Michael Perrino and his family to Las Vegas for their annual Swings for Wings fundraiser at TopGolf. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cat survives 15-mile commute in car bumper
A Las Vegas Review-Journal employee was surprised to learn she had a passenger during her 15.5-mile commute to the office on a September Sunday. (Tony Morales & James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shortages of OB-GYN doctors in the Las Vegas Valley - Video
Dr. Michael Gardner discusses the shortages of OB-GYN doctors that will happen and what steps are being taken to entice them to come or stay in the Las Vegas area.
Southern Nevada is in a West Nile virus hot zone - VIDEO
Southern Nevada, along with Central Arizona and Southern California, make up a “hot zone” that is reporting the highest number of mosquito-borne West Nile virus cases in the country. The Southern Nevada Health District recently reported 28 cases of West Nile virus in Clark County. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul Browning Released from Ely State Prison - VIDEO
Paul Browning greets his mother, Betty Browning, after being released from Ely State Prison. Browning served 33 years on Nevada’s death row. (Rachel Crosby/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mother upset over her child's cornea donation being sent overseas - Video
Lindsey LiCari, the mother of Ayden and founder of Ayden's Army of Angels, is upset that her child's corneas were sent overseas and was told that she would be able to see her son's eyes again. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Aviators splash pad lets fans stay cool
Las Vegas Ballpark’s splash pad area is the perfect place to keep cool while enjoying the game. (Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)