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Thousands fill Sunrise Blvd for annual Red, White & Blue Parade

Red White & Blue Parade, Citrus Heights, Luke Otterstad
Parade-watchers line the streets for the 2017 annual Red, White and Blue parade in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

Colorful banners, balloons and marching bands took over Sunrise Boulevard Saturday morning as thousands lined the street for Citrus Heights’ 18th annual Red, White and Blue Parade.

With morning temperatures in the mid-seventies, the parade kicked off just after 9 a.m. with a high-speed entry by two skydivers dropped from high above Sunrise Mall. The event concluded about an hour-and-a-half later after a steady stream of classic cars, blaring bands, police vehicles, and other parade floats passed by on Sunrise Boulevard between Madison Avenue and Greenback Lane.

“This was the best parade we’ve ever had,” said Citrus Heights Councilman Bret Daniels, who participated in the parade along with all four other council members. “The parade was magnificent, weather was wonderful — couldn’t have been any better.”

The June 24 event was led by 10 police motorcycles and concluded with 10 speeding go-carts driven by the local Ben Ali Shriner’s group. The 60-plus other parade entries included classic cars, church groups, radio stations, and several area businesses.

Citrus Heights resident Brett Coleman was among the parade watchers and said he attends the event every year with his family and young daughters. He said the parade gives the city a “small-town feel” with a community atmosphere, bands, old cars, and families lined along the street — although he said some Metro Fire trucks in the parade would have been nice.

Winning the annual Mayor’s Award for the best and most creative entry was the Harmer family, who had a Flintstones-themed float made entirely of recycled materials and 16 rolls of duct tape, according to a loud-speaker announcement as the float rolled past the judges’ booth.

Citrus Heights Neighborhood Area 6 won the award for best neighborhood association entry, and the Citrus Heights Dance Academy won the award for best music entry. Other winners included Kaia Fit Citrus Heights, the Mesa Verde Mavericks, a Halloween-themed entry from Cemetarium Haunted House, as well as the San Juan Alumni Association and San Juan cheerleaders and baseball players who participated in the parade.

The Citrus Heights Rotary Club‘s pancake breakfast, served up in the Sunrise Mall parking lot was also an expected hit following the event.

“Weather cooperated, there was a little breeze — parade was successful,” Mayor Jeff Slowey told The Sentinel following the parade. “It’s all for the kids and the family so it was all good.”

Slowey said the annual parade began several years after Citrus Heights became a city two decades ago and said the event is always held on the last Saturday in June to not conflict with July 4th parades in the region.

“We wanted to do something for the community,” said Mayor Jeff Slowey, recalling the parade’s origins in 1999. “People like parades, so we’ve had it and it’s been very successful.”

Following the parade this year was a “Summer Kick Off” event hosted by the Sunrise Marketplace in the Mall’s parking lot. Inflatables, classic cars and food trucks could be seen setting up for the kick off event during the parade, with a line of eager kids allowed early entry to the event area around 10:30 a.m.

Police estimated several thousand people attended the 2017 parade. Traffic on Sunrise Boulevard between Madison Avenue and Greenback Lane was closed down for several hours to allow for the event.

Harmer family, Red White and Blue Parade, Luke Otterstad
The Harmer family’s Flintstones-themed float won the 2017 Mayor’s Award during the Red, White and Blue Parade. // Photo credit: Luke Otterstad



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