87°F
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
Seven Magic Tires
“Seven Magic Tires,” created by Las Vegas artists Justin Favela and Ramiro Gomez, substitutes piles of tires for hefty boulders to recreate the scale model. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Warehouse fire in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas Fire Department PIO Nino Galloway gives an update on the fire at a warehouse on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Woman's memoir reflects on her fresh start in Las Vegas
Etta Baykara, 91, who plays accordion in a polka band, wrote a memoir that includes growing up on a farm to her move to California and then Las Vegas where she claims she is the happiest. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Behind the scenes at Broadacres Marketplace
Evelyn Sanchez, Broadacres Marketplace marketing and event director, talks about the offerings at the dynamic swap meet in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Teen talks about alleged sexual assault at Las Vegas grocery store
A 17-year old says she was groped and then sexually assaulted by a loss-prevention specialist at an Albertsons store in east Las Vegas. The subject's voice has been distorted to protect her identity. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson officials tried to lure Arizona Diamondbacks from Phoenix
Henderson officials tried to lure Arizona Diamondbacks from Phoenix with four potential stadium sites in mind, including one behind the future home of the future Raiders headquarters. Discussions between the team and the city stalled out, but Henderson still wants to attract professional sports to the area.(Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Grasshoppers swarm Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is swarmed by pallid-winged grashoppers on July 25, 2019. The grasshoppers have infested the Las Vegas valley after an unseasonably wet winter and spring, experts say.(@365inVegas/Twitter)
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)
Grasshoppers invade Las Vegas
The grasshoppers came out at night in northwest Las Vegas on Thursday. Lights at a local gas station attracted hundreds of the insects. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD superintendent says dean positions will not be eliminated
Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara discusses budget adjustments for the district after listening sessions with principals, teachers and support professionals. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson rain
Rain falls in Henderson on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
Monsoon season begins in the Las Vegas Valley
Rain dropped in Henderson on Wednesday morning as monsoon season begins in the Las Vegas area. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson Fire Department on checking back seats in the heat - Video
The Henderson Fire Department talks about double-checking car seats in the Las Vegas heat to remember children who may be in the car. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Take the Red E Bike tour of Red Rock Canyon
The Red E Bike tour of Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas starts at the visitors center for a three-hour, 17-mile ride. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Steve Meriwether talks about his son, who was killed by a drunk driver
Retired Metro sergeant Steve Meriwether talks about his son, Garrett Meriwether, who was killed by a drunk driver. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Earthquake might have caused Pahrump man's death
Officials in Pahrump believe that the recent Fourth of July earthquake caused the death of resident Troy Ray as he was working on his car. If true, it will be the first earthquake-related death in the state in recorded history, according to research geologist Craig dePolo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Earthquake-related death reported in Pahrump
The Nye County Sheriff's Office investigated a man's death reported on July 9 that may have been related to a Southern California earthquake that occurred on July 4 and was felt in Southern Nevada. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Fire in Arts District in downtown Las Vegas
Fire in Arts District in downtown Las Vegas on July 6, 2019. (Angus Kelly)
10th Anniversary of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the coming week. Director Marwan Sabbagh talks about what the center offers, what they've achieved and what is next in the work of degenerative brain disease. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol pulls over hearse in HOV lane
A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper pulled over the driver of a hearse, which was carrying a body, in an HOV lane in Las Vegas, July 1, 2019. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Summer In Las Vegas
Summer In Las Vegas (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Train derails in Northern Nevada - VIDEO
A train carrying ammunition derailed near Wells in Northern Nevada on Wed., June 19, 2019, closing part of Interstate 80, authorities said. (Michael Lyday/Twitter)
Fire damages an office complex in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
A fire causes heavy damage to an office complex at 3900 Paradise Rd. in Las Vegas on June 17, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Crash closes Las Vegas Blvd. near Fremont Street
A vehicle fleeing police crashed in the area of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Courtesy Andy Herrera)
Clark County's third poet laureate
Heather Lang-Cassera, who will be Clark County's third poet laureate on June 1, is interviewed at the Writer's Block bookstore in Las Vegas, Friday, May 24, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead, two critical in Henderson shooting
One person is dead and two juveniles are in critical condition after a Friday morning shooting in Henderson, police said. During a briefing at the scene on Friday, Lt. Kirk Moore said the preliminary investigation has revealed that this incident is likely narcotics-related.
A man whose wives were found dead 8 years apart under similar circumstances is denied bail - VIDEO
Alan Sylwester, the man suspected of killing his wife, was denied bail again Wednesday morning during his preliminary hearing in Henderson.
Chief deputy district attorney: “Justice was done” in child pornography case - VIDEO
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney James Sweetin speaks with the media after the sentencing of Christopher Sena, the man who was found guilty in February of multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor, incest, use of a minor in the production of pornography, lewdness with a child younger than 14 and child abuse. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Spring Mountain horses don't mind the snow
Snowfall made a return to the Spring Mountains overnight, May 19, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST