She got lucky for the Fourth of July.
Staring at a blocks-long sea of blue tarps, blankets and canopies, Summerlin resident Ellane Nelson drove slowly along Village Center Circle on Tuesday and found a spot of grass just perfect for her and husband John to watch the 25th edition of the Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade.
Out came her rock with the Nelson name on it, quickly placed to claim her front-row seat.
On Wednesday morning she secured it with a blue blanket and rocks at each corner. She added a canopy to provide shade.
A Summerlin ritual
The marking of one’s viewing spot for the parade has become a Summerlin ritual nearly as big as the event itself.
“It starts two or three days before the parade,” Nelson said, walking past rows of primarily blue tarps covering most of the grass between the street and the sidewalk, which had been steadily growing since Monday. “People with seats up front don’t take too kindly to adults who might try and cut in (on their space) late, but if it is a child they are friendly.”
The Nelsons and tens of thousand of others will line the streets when the parade kicks off at 9 a.m., with organizers promising the largest and most elaborate display of floats, bands and performances yet.
Started in 1994
What started in 1994 with a few entries has grown each year into a spectacle that will last more than two hours.
“It’s fabulous,” Nelson said. “We’ve been coming each year for the past five years at least. I’m looking forward to the Vegas Golden Knights float and hope to see some players.”
Knights forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Ryan Reaves will be on board. Also making appearances are Las Vegas Aces players A’ja Wilson and Jackie Young and mascots from the Las Vegas Aviators.
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.
Kids on bikes
Just like the first parade, kids on bikes will kick off the parade, and don’t be surprised to see Uncle Sam there, too.
The 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.
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.
“From the very beginning, it was a collective community experience,” said Lezlie 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 parade and The Howard Hughes Corp. is the title sponsor.
For the Nelsons, they plan to keep their July 4th tradition.
“We go to IHOP for breakfast about 6 a.m. and then get to our spot,” she said. “We’re on the right side of the (divided) street so the parade will be just feet in front of us.”
Contact Marvin Clemons at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-383-0217. Review-Journal staffer Amanda Bradford contributed to this story.