BRANDON — Thousands of people, some toting coolers and lawn chairs, are again expected to line the two-mile route at this year's Fourth of July Parade.
The annual event, the state's largest Independence Day procession according to event organizer Community Roundtable, is set to start at 10 a.m. at Lumsden Road and Parsons Avenue following the announcement of Brandon's new honorary mayor. The mayor, an unofficial title, is chosen yearly based on his or her fundraising ability.
The parade will move north on Parsons, west on Robertson Street, across Kings Avenue, then turn north on Buckingham to end at the Brandon Mall shopping center (at the Publix and Burlington Coat Factory) on State Road 60. The parade is expected to last until about 1 p.m.
"Some people start showing up at 6 a.m. with their lawn chairs," parade chairwoman Marie Cain said.
This year people can expect to see at least two Irish-themed floats sponsored by the Krewe of Shamrock and the New World Celts, a float sponsored by the Rough Riders and a marching band comprising students from Brandon and Bloomingdale high schools.
Also on tap will be scores of businesses and other organizations. About 90 groups will be represented, Cain said.
Look for roundtable scholarship winner Zora Millerleile, Alice B. Tompkins community service winner Betty Jo Tompkins (no relation) and this year's father of the year, Sean Allen. Allen was chosen for the distinction based on essay contest at the area's elementary schools.
"The Sheriff's Office said about 30,000 to 40,000 people come each year to watch the parade," Cain said. "It's the biggest Fourth of July parade in Florida."
Rich Shopes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2454.