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2018 Red, White & Blue Parade draws crowd in Citrus Heights

Red, White, Blue Parade, Citrus Heights
Attendees line the streets of Sunrise Boulevard for the 2018 Red, White & Blue Parade in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

By Stacey Hanks–
More than a thousand people lined the streets of Sunrise Boulevard on Saturday morning for the 19th annual Red, White, and Blue Parade in Citrus Heights.

With the normally busy section of Sunrise Boulevard shut down between Madison Avenue and Greenback Lane for the event, the sidewalks quickly filled with people carting lawn chairs and parents towing wagons filled with laughing children looking for a place to watch the passing parade.

Entries in the parade included kids dressed in costumes of red, white and blue tutu’s, a shuffling group of ghoulish haunted house zombies, shiny classic cars with waving elected officials, beauty pageant winners, and the local community marching band proudly playing their instruments. Organizers said the event had over 50 parade entries and floats, making for an expected attraction at any good old-fashioned small town parade.

“It was a lot of fun, a blast, my kids had a great time,” said Tabatha Barkley, who came to watch the parade with a friend and children. “This time we were watching it; last time we were actually in it a few years back.”

Starting at just after 9 a.m., and despite predicted triple-digit temperatures, the June 23 event was graced with a mild breeze that kept parade attendees and entrants comfortable and in good spirits.

Citrus Heights Mayor Steve Miller, who was among the parade’s participants, said he was happy to find the weather cooler than expected.

“We were all done before it got over 100 degrees, so that’s the highlight for me — and I love a parade,” the mayor said following the event.

Miller said his “Mayor’s Award” went to a float by the Harmer family, who also won the award last year. He described the “Flower Power” themed float as very creative and said it had “a little bit of everything American,” including a water feature. “They must spend all year getting it ready,” he remarked.

Other entries who won awards were Creative Solutions, Family Taekwando Plus, San Juan Alumni, Girl Scouts, Quick Quack Car Wash and the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band.

Also featured in the parade was a Wells Fargo Stage Coach drawn by four horses, the Citrus Heights Police Department’s military surplus “Emergency Rescue Vehicle,” and the Ben Ali Shriners Keystone Cop Patrol paddy wagon delighting the crowd with its comedic driving antics — not to be topped by a Quick Quack Car Wash float blowing bubbles in the air all along the parade route.

Another crowd favorite was “Mr. Shriner 2018” an old fashioned Bobby-style “police officer” riding a bicycle around and handing out “citations for the shiniest sparkler” to children and other parade attendees. As temperatures warmed, free bottled water and sodas were also handed out by members of a Sikh Temple in Roseville.

Winding up the parade in front of the Sunrise Mall, Rotary Club of Citrus Heights members were on hand until noon to serve up pancake breakfasts in the parking lot, for $5 a plate and $3 for kids.

The local parade began nearly two decades ago and is held on the last Saturday of June to not conflict with July 4th events in the region. Although initially formed as a “happy birthday” to the city shortly after Citrus Heights incorporated, the parade soon became known as the “Red, White & Blue Parade,” after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Originally taking place at Sylvan Corners, the parade route now runs along Sunrise Boulevard, beginning just north of Madison Avenue at Uplands Way and ending near Greenback Lane in front of the Mall.

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