BY DEBBIE PAGE
The 16th Annual Independence Day Parade will roll along Highway 21 in Troutman on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. This year’s grand marshals are Navy service members and other veterans.
Troutman’s Citizens of the Year Jimmy and Betty Jean Troutman, and the Organization of the Year, Troutman Fire and Rescue, will also be honored during this year’s event.
Parade chairman Chuck Gallyon reminds entrants that they should enter CATS parking lot for lineup off Old Murdock Road. This year’s parade opening ceremony will begin at 10:15 a.m. at CATS, featuring the National Anthem sung by the Calvary Quartet and comments from local dignitaries.
Traffic will be shut down on Highway 21 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Old Murdock and Highway 21, near Walgreens, to clear the road for the parade route, which is slightly different this year.
The parade will proceed down Old Murdock Road toward Food Lion and then turn south on Highway 21 to Cedar Street beside Troutman Elementary School. This change was made to better accommodate thru-traffic flow during the parade.
A flyover will start the event, and musical guests include local artist Shellum Cline on the Blonde Moments and Troutman Barber Shop float.
Organizers said 110 entries are scheduled to travel the parade route, including 356 vehicles of various types, along with horses and horse-drawn carriages, and exotic animals on the Zootastic float.
Over 1,100 people will participate in the event, which includes floats, music performers, marching units, dance and acrobatic troupes, church groups, civic organizations, Scout troops, motorcycles, military units, classic and antique cars, fire engines, beauty queens, re-enactment groups, politicians, military vehicles, planes, and, most importantly, veterans of the United States Armed Services.
Refreshment vendors positioned along the parade route are also new this year. Third Eye Coffee, Southern Treats, Full Belly Deli, Katie’s Snack Shack, and Olde Town Sweets will be selling beverages and tasty treats.
Parking will be available at Troutman Elementary and Middle school lots, Town Hall, ESC Park (now 210 spaces), and the public lots on Wagner Street and next to the Troutman Depot.
Port-a-johns will be located along the parade route at CATS and along the greenway, including portable handicapped bathroom facilities and parking at Julia’s Talley House.
All parade participants are reminded to refrain from throwing candy from the parade floats to reduce litter and to prevent children from running into the street and getting injured.
Candy must be distributed by hand to parade attendees. If a participant fails to follow this candy policy, the entry will be removed from the parade route by town officials.
Horses must also be bagged to avoid soiling the streets.
ICATS will provide shuttles for parade participants from Troutman Elementary back to CATS to get their vehicles.
The Town of Troutman thanks Kat’s Patch for providing breakfast for parade volunteers prior to the event.
INDEPENDENCE FESTIVAL/FIREWORKS FOLLOWS PARADE
At full dark (about 9:30 p.m.) at the Iredell County Fairgrounds, the community is invited to gather with friends and family to enjoy Troutman’s free annual fireworks display. Gates will open at 7 p.m. for spectators to park and position blankets and chairs at the perfect viewing spot on the midway.
While waiting for the show to begin, spectators can enjoy food trucks, patriotic music, face painting, and bounce houses.
Attendees for the Saturday evening event are reminded that no coolers, smoking, alcohol, or pets are allowed in the fair grounds.
Participants may bring lawn chairs or blankets to the midway area to view the show, but all bags are subject to being checked by police officers for prohibited items.
Parking is available inside the fairgrounds, with overflow parking at the Fairgrounds Shopping Center.
The town asks that no one park on private property.
WHIP will be broadcasting the parade live from the parking lot at Julia’s Tally House.