Appleton 70th annual Flag Day Parade back this year like never before

Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 11:47 AM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - More than 50,000 participants and spectators returned to Appleton on Saturday afternoon for the city’s 70th Flag Day Parade.

Appleton’s Parade Committee Chairperson, Corey Otis, says it is “back, bigger and better than ever this year.”

Parade officials said the celebration annually attracts more than 50,000 people and on Saturday, they exceeded that number. “We probably got more this year than we have in 10 years,” Otis said.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Home of the Brave”, and will honor hometown heroes of the pandemic who were on the frontline.

“We felt it was important to recognize that we have a lot of heroes in our hometown who made a lot of sacrifices, worked long hours, and really put their lives at risk in some cases to make sure that this community was at the state of flow,” Otis explained.

The Appleton Flag Day Parade honors hometown heroes of the pandemic
The Appleton Flag Day Parade honors hometown heroes of the pandemic(WBAY)

The parade started at 2 p.m. at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Oneida Street.

It then headed west on Wisconsin, turned south on State Street, heading east on College Avenue, and then end at Drew Street.

RELATED: 2nd Marine Division Band to march in Appleton Flag Day Parade

Organizers encouraged people watching the parade to wear face coverings and to socially distance themselves.

As Action 2 News previously reported, last year, the parade didn’t happen physically due to the pandemic, but organizers created a virtual event. In addition, Appleton residents were encouraged to decorate their yards for Flag Day. (CLICK HERE for the related story.)

“There was a point this year where we didn’t think we were going to be able to have it. In January, COVID numbers were rising, we didn’t know what was going to happen with the vaccines. But once the shots started going into people’s arms, it was a game-changer and things turned around in a hurry,” said Otis.

The historic parade has been a tradition since 1950 and is the nation’s oldest Flag Day parade, honoring our nation’s flag and thanking our veterans for their service.

“It is important to our nation and it’s important to local communities like Appleton with the Reserves and everything that we have and it’s good to show support,” said Mark Scherer, parade goer.

Parade officials say more than 110 different groups were marching in the parade; from scouts, marching bands, and many veteran organizations.

“They’re really giving it their all, to create the parade and have it happen, how wonderful after being so isolated during COVID,” said Jean Scherer, a parade goer.

Appleton’s Flag Day parade is recognized as the nation’s oldest Flag Day parade.

Flag Day is observed nationwide each year on June 14.

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