Loyalty Day Parade on hold - for now

By: 
Jill Meier, Journal editor

Organizers of Brandon’s famed Loyalty Day Parade are holding out hope that the parade could be held July 4. That date, of course, hinges on the status of COVID-19.

Jamie Hult/BV Journal file photo

Chris Southard has never attended a Loyalty Day Parade in Brandon in its 54 years of existence.

Yet, one of the newest members of Three Rivers VFW Post 4726, willingly stepped up to serve as parade chairman for what would be the event’s milestone 55th year.

“Ron Harris has been in charge (for years),” Southard said last Thursday by phone. “The first year I take it over, we don’t get to have it. It’s ironic.”

Southard, who served seven and a half years in the U.S. Army, said that the parade – always held the first Sunday in May – may still go on this year. That, of course, hinges on how long the coronavirus pandemic keeps hold on the region.

“To my knowledge, this is the largest (Loyalty Day) parade in the state and one of the largest in the country,” he said.

Southard acknowledged parade planners are now eyeing to stage the parade on the Fourth of July.

“We’re trying to keep a contingency plan, because we still want to bring something to the community,” he said. “We’re not trying to start a new tradition.”

Southard said planning was moving full-steam ahead prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With two planning meetings in the books, Southard was following a checklist provided by fellow VFW member Ron Harris, who previously chaired the event. He said the first meeting was essentially a review of the checklist, and the second, he said organizers had already started to “fine-tune” their parade day plans.

In addition to a change of date, the parade route may also need to be tweaked, as reconstruction of Main Avenue is now underway.

“The city council was willing to work with us and weren’t going to start digging up Main Avenue until after the parade,” he said. “So, maybe this is a blessing in disguise.”

Brandon’s Loyalty Day Parade has historically drawn thousands to the community, and the parade typically features between 300 and 600 units and has lasted more than three hours on some occasions.

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The Brandon Valley Journal

 

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1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
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