A total of 80 floats, high school marching bands, restored military vehicles and military organizations from near and far will all come together on Monday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. for the 87th Annual Branson Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Branson.
Operated by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913, the Branson Veterans Day Parade is a chance for the Branson community to honor veterans, both active and retired, according to Parade Director Bob Sarver.
“It’s a day that we look forward to. As a veteran myself, I look forward to honoring the people I served with, the people that are still serving and people like my father, for example, who was a Purple Heart recipient, a World War II veteran. It allows me to still honor him, even though he’s been gone a long time,” said Sarver. “We took it over six years ago, and it just seems to get bigger and better, and I’m just blessed to be a part of it. People who have never seen the parade, I think they’re going to be truly amazed.”
Sarver said he’s also excited to announce that they’ll have a special guest walking in this year’s parade.
“We got a call the other day and the governor is going to come and wants to be in the parade with us this year. Governor Parson is a Vietnam vet, and he wants to come walk the parade this year,” Sarver said. “This is the first time, that I know of, that the governor of our great state has called and actually wants to be in the parade. So it’s going to be pretty fun to have him with us.”
The parade route will follow the same route as last year. The parade staging area will be in the parking lot of the Hilton Convention Center.
From the parking lot, the parade will travel via Sycamore Street to Long Street. From Long Street to Branson Landing Boulevard. From Branson Landing Boulevard north to Commercial Street.
From Commercial Street to College Street and then back to the convention center parking lot.
“If people want to watch the parade, anywhere up and down Branson Landing Blvd or Commercial Street is really the best place to watch the parade,” said Sarver. “If they want to watch the parade they need to come get there early. I ask people to be patient, because traffic is going to be horrendous.”
Sarver added that those coming to watch the parade also need to be aware of the street closures that will occur ahead of the parade.
Commercial Street and the south end of the Branson Landing (Bass Pro) Parking Lot will be shut down at Midnight on Sunday, Nov. 10.
On the morning of the parade on Monday, Sycamore Street and Long Street will be shut down at 8 a.m., the inbound lane of the lower bridge heading towards the Branson Landing will shut down at 9:30 a.m. and Branson Landing Blvd. will be shut down at 10:30 a.m. Price Street off of Veterans Blvd. will serve as the entry path for parade participants.
“Just like last year, I’ve got the 135th United States Active Duty Army Band that will lead the parade after the Branson High School JR. ROTC Honor Guard starts. We’re going to have organizations like the National 4th Infantry Division Charlie Company, the VFW out of Harrison, Arkansas, Past Illinois State Commanders, American Legion Post 220, and Women Veterans.”
Additional parade participants include the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 621, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, various civilian and military vehicles and many other military organizations.