Grande Parade to focus on Vietnam vets

SALEM – Area residents can take in the “Dog Days of Summer” and pay their respects to local Vietnam War veterans during this year’s Salem Grande Parade at 6 p.m. Aug. 9.

Parade units will gather in the area of Highland Avenue and Union Avenue and travel west on East State Street through downtown, then turn north on North Ellsworth Avenue and disband at Second Street.

With no International Festival (iFest) this year, the parade will be the featured attraction for the day, following a theme of “Dog Days of Summer” and focusing this year’s Salute to Veterans on those who served during the Vietnam War.

Grande Parade Committee Chairman David Coy explained this is the third year they’ve honored veterans, starting with World War II two years ago, then the Korean War last year and now the Vietnam War.

“We would like to use this as a springboard for everybody to come to the Columbiana County Fairgrounds to participate in the observance of the Moving Wall,” he said.

The fair board will host the half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this September, with the wall scheduled to arrive Sept. 11 and remain until Sept. 15 at the fairgrounds in Lisbon.

Coy asked that all Vietnam veterans participate in the parade and a summertime fellowship meal prior to the parade at Salem V.F.W. Post 892 on Arch Street where they’ll pose for a photo, enjoy a meal and board transportation to the parade staging area.

Vietnam War veterans should register by Monday, Aug. 4 by calling the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce at 330-337-3473. Veterans should arrive at the V.F.W. between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Aug. 9. At 5 p.m., they’ll be boarding the transportation in the V.F.W. parking lot.

Depending on how many veterans show up, they’ll be riding a float provided by KLG Ambulance, the Quaker Trolley if necessary and possibly a hay wagon.

“We’re hoping to have a larger turnout,” Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Audrey Null said.

Last year they had 15 veterans from the Korean War ride in the parade. Both Null and Coy said it’s a great collaboration between the parade committee, the chamber and the Salem V.F.W. led by Commander Doug Brannon. The veterans will be featured in the parade along with the Marlboro Inc. military vehicle unit, which has been participating since 2006.

“Collaboration together with other groups in Salem makes for great events and activities,” Null said.

She would also like to see a lot of participation this year by the various organizations and businesses in the city and surrounding area. The chamber has a directory which includes 68 different organizations and she’s encouraging all of them to take part in the parade. Last year there were 85 units, but the goal is to attract more than 100 units this year.

Participants can download an application online at the chamber website at, call the chamber office at 330-337-3473 or just stop in during business hours. The office is located on the corner of State and Lincoln. So far she said they have a few high school bands, but would like to see more of them participate. There’s even an equestrian unit this year and units with dogs.

Prior to the parade, from 3 to 6 p.m., the Salem Public Library will host Pre-Parade Palooza on the library’s front lawn featuring Pete the Cat, crafts, balloons, face painting and story times.

From 5 to 8 p.m. at Manhattan Cleaners on East State Street, the Salem Kiwanis will sell tickets and take bids for the service club’s Big Basket Raffle and Silent Auction. More than 60 baskets will be up for grabs, with winners drawn at 8 p.m. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 for the raffle baskets and bids will be accepted for the silent auction baskets. The ticket sales and bidding began during the Kiwanis Annual Antique & Craft Show at Centennial Park, but sales and bidding were extended due to the bad weather that day.

When asked about the demise of the iFest, Null cited poor attendance.

“The committee decided the amount of time and effort was too much for so little participation from the community,” she said.

The entertainment cost money and attendance was low the last two years.

She said people still want to see the parade and they still get a lot of participation. The parade had originally been part of the city’s Jubilee celebration and carried over to other events such as the Italian Festival and the iFest, but is able to stand on its own.

Null said the chamber will continue to host the Family Fall Fun Day, too, but this year it will be held on Sept. 13. Last year’s event was rained out.