by Andrea Cole
Stow -- Fourth of July Parade Committee members are making final preparations for this year's event.
The parade, which is hosted by the city and the Stow-Munroe Falls Kiwanis Club, is scheduled for July 4 at 10 a.m. The parade will begin at Stow-Kent Shopping Center on Kent Road, and travel approximately 2 miles west, before ending at Park Drive.
This year's parade theme is "Sweet Land of Liberty."
Stow Community Information Coordinator Linda Nahrstedt, who serves as co-chairperson of the parade committee, said 148 entries were registered for the parade as of June 20. The committee now is accepting entries on a "case-by-case basis," she said.
Nahrstedt added a lineup number will be sent to each parade participant by June 27.
"We are working on a database right now, and after we complete that, we'll put together a lineup," she said. "We have a different focus each year. We try to rotate it, so different groups have an opportunity to be in the front and the back of the parade."
Float entries must be in the Stow-Kent Shopping Center by 8 a.m., and all other entries in the parade must be in the center by 9 a.m.
Parade Committee co-chairperson Ron DeGrand said participants in the parade can enter the shopping center on Fishcreek Road and park near Macy's. Because parade participants may have to wait until it's their turn to enter the parade, DeGrand encouraged everyone involved to "be patient."
"People can bring things to keep them occupied while they wait," he said. "They also can bring food and drinks."
Before the parade starts, all floats will be judged on appearance, use of theme and originality. Winners will be announced before the parade kicks off and at the reviewing stand, located near the end of the parade route. A cash prize will be awarded to the entry judged as "Best of Parade." Trophies also will be awarded for first, second and third place in the following categories: commercial; non-commercial; and youth groups.
DeGrand said he expects the parade to run smoothly.
"Since I'm at the beginning of the parade, I never see the actual product, but it's great knowing that everything is well-organized by the city and Kiwanis," he said. "It's almost second nature to committee members now."
DeGrand added individuals watching the parade can bring canned food items for the Stow Alliance Church's Love Float. The items will be collected along the parade route, and will be distributed to Good Neighbors Inc.
during the parade
DeGrand added portions of Kent and Darrow roads will be closed nearly two hours before the parade begins. Kent Road will be closed from Marsh Road to Englewood Drive between 7:15 and 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Darrow Road will be closed from Graham Road to Pinehurst Road in Munroe Falls from 7:15 to 8:30 a.m. The only traffic permitted during the restricted periods will be on Darrow Road for First Christian Church's Pride Pancake Breakfast, which is scheduled for 7 to 10 a.m.
For additional information, call the parade hotline at 330-689-2929.
Cleanup of the parade
According to Stow Community Information Coordinator Linda Nahrstedt, the committee is working with the city's service department employees, who will be responsible for setting up cones the day before the parade, distributing trash bags to residents along the route and setting up the parade's sound system.
"We send out a letter to residents on Kent Road, asking them to put out a trash can by 6 p.m. the day before the parade," she said. "The service department will put a trash bag in each trash can. After the parade, the Stow-Munroe Falls High School Key Club and the high school debate team will pick up all the trash."
Nahrstedt said this is the fourth year Kent Road residents and businesses will help with cleanup after the parade.
"They have been very responsive with their support, and this has helped our post-parade cleanup immensely," she said.