For the first time in its storied history, the Northland Community Council Fourth of July Parade will begin with a bit of ribbon meeting an oversized pair of scissors.
"We wanted to jazz it up and make it more of a special event," Sandy LaFollette, chairwoman of the committee organizing the parade, said last week. "We thought a ribbon-cutting would help kick off the event."
Mayor Michael B. Coleman, who almost always appears in the parade, will handle the ceremonial duty before parade participants step out at 11 a.m. Friday, July 4, near the intersection of Karl and Morse roads.
The 1.7-mile parade route will go north on Karl Road to East Dublin-Granville Road, with the final entry expected to arrive there by 12:30 p.m.
"As always, we anticipate this year's parade will include a flyover, marching bands, bicycles, police, fire and other emergency vehicles, floats and entries from a variety of communities and organizations throughout Northland and surrounding areas," LaFollette wrote in a letter to potential 2014 participants.
"It's looking really good," she said. "I think it's going to be exciting. We're trying to add more music. It looks at this point to be very fun and entertaining."
Things are running ahead of schedule this time around, for a change, she said, in terms of the number of entries in what is frequently called the largest community organized parade in the state.
The theme for the 2014 edition of the parade is "American Heroes: Past, Present and Future."
"There are a lot of heroes in our lives and they could be from any walk of life," LaFollette said. "We thought about our veterans and our first-responders, police and firefighters, but then we also thought about doctors and nurses.
"It can be an individual thing: Who's your hero?"
Once again this year, the Hadler Cos., sponsors of a classic car show that takes place after the parade at the Columbus Square Shopping Center, is the major sponsor and has provided grant money to neighborhood organizations seeking financial assistance in creating floats.
Other sponsors include Columbus Square Shopping Center, Columbus Square Bowling Palace, Pearl Alley Farm Market at Columbus Square, Meijer on Cleveland Avenue, Tamarack Circle businesses, Krieger Ford and the Ink Well.
George Schmidt will serve as the announcer, offering information about the entries as they pass a reviewing stand along the route.
LaFollette said she is willing to accept parade entries through Tuesday, July 1. That provides time to get necessary waivers signed.
Those interested may contact her via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other members of the NCC parade committee include co-chairwoman Robyn Taylor, John LaFollette, George Schmidt, Eddie Jones, Agnus Funmi, Joe Segna, Fran Link, Jan Engel, Trevor Secord, Ken Gilbert and Dave Cooper.