After a year off due to the COVID pandemic, the 70th Appleton Flag Day Parade will return June 12 at 2 p.m. after last year’s virtual event.
It will start at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Oneida Street, then will proceed west on Wisconsin Avenue, south on State Street and south on College Avenue to Drew Street, where it will disband.
The Appleton Flag Day Parade will be highlighting frontline workers during the pandemic this year.
“That’s actually a big change from our typical parade,” says Chairperson for the Appleton Flag Day Parade Corey Otis. “We usually honor one branch of the military service on a rotating basis — actually, the Navy was spotlighted [last year] and unfortunately the parade wasn’t held, but we still managed to honor them through online activities.”
The committee agreed this year it was very important to honor the frontline workers, whom they are calling “Hometown Heroes.” The theme this year is “Home of the Brave.”
“We need to pay tribute to all of these people on the front line who really kept the economy going, kept the country running as we battled the pandemic,” Otis says. “So, this year we’re going to, for the first time ever, break from tradition and not honor a military branch specifically.”
The usual participants include local VFWs, other local veteran groups, the Elks who started the parade in the early 1950s, a city float, high school bands and any other organizations seen on a year-to-year basis.
“We’re hoping to have as traditional of a parade as we can this year,” Otis says. “Obviously we still have to heed the COVID safety precautions, and at this point we’re planning on wearing masks and social distancing and encouraging spectators to follow the same steps. Otherwise, it’s going to be business as usual.”
Otis is unsure at this point if they will reach their usual approximate 100 floats in the parade this year, but they received 60 applications so far. He explains they usually receive about 115 total each year.
“I’m hoping that we come close, but we’ll have our traditional participants,” Otis says.
All the military branches will still be celebrated, Otis assures, but it will be different this year.
“We’re trying to put something together at the beginning of the parade where we honor 50 different frontline workers … so they can get recognized and applauded and walk the streets of Appleton for all they’ve done for the last year,” he says.