Who doesn't love a parade?
Imagine you’re in a time machine and Cecil B. DeMille is shooting a new epic film. It takes place in small-town Americana and it’s the story of a Memorial Day Parade. Advance promotions are calling it an extravaganza in four parts: Parade, Veterans Honor Ceremony, S. Belvoir Street Fair and The Famous Hot Dog Stand.
You guessed it. University Heights is the small town. The parade is the 45th University Heights Memorial Day Parade. It has drama and lots of action. Parts are heartwarming and others are breathtaking. There is even some romance and heartbreak. Some folks would add "thrilling" to describe the time-honored tradition of politicians marching in Memorial Day parades.
All will occur live and on location, on Monday, May 30. Stars and costars of the marching units will be seen arriving early to their designated staging areas in the western part of town, near Jackson Boulevard.
Mr. DeMille recruited several directors for this undertaking. Win Weizer, director of Part 1: Parade, will call "Action!" at 11 a.m., and marchers will take their first steps on Silsby Road, near Ashurst, heading toward Warrensville Center Road and City Hall. Weizer leaked only a few of the big names appearing—Wiley Middle School Marching Band; Mame Daiko Japanese Drummers; a horse-mounted unit; the Rocket Car; Greater Cleveland Young Marines; Heights Independent Business Aliance. No amount of pressure moved Weizer to divulge the remaining names on her very long list.
True to this small town’s history, and a DeMille production, thousands of extras are expected to line the parade route—from Silsby to S. Belvoir, where paraders will turn south. They’ll march on S. Belvoir, turn onto Carroll Boulevard., and end at Administration Drive off Carroll.
Parade watchers will be seated on lawn chairs and on the curbs; and standing with their children, neighbors, visiting relatives and pets. Like any blockbuster worthy of its name, the story line keeps going after the parade.
DeMille’s director for Part 2: Ceremony to Honor American Veterans of all branches of service, is Adele Zucker. She will direct the honors ceremony on S. Belvoir, on the steps of the DeCarlo Varsity Center. Zucker revealed that she signed up the Heights Symphonic Band for the soundtrack and acquired more flags than ever for the ceremony.
This reporter overheard Zucker saying, "Auxiliary Police Lt. Jerry Jacobson cast Patrolman Rick Adante for the ceremony." Adante will be firing the M1 Garand rifle salutes during the placement of the flags, which represent our nation’s recent military conflicts. "Taps," honoring our fallen soldiers, will be played by the Heights Symphonic Band. "With the location change to S. Belvoir, more people than ever are expected to attend this moving veterans ceremony" said Adele Zucker.
Patricia Baskin, director of Part 3: Street Fair, is producing and directing the first ever University Heights Street Fair. Baskin has arranged to close S. Belvoir between Washington and Carroll boulevards. The fair is expected to draw all the parade watchers along the route because Baskin instructed the last marching unit to say "Follow me to the Fair!"
The street fair will feature food concessions, including kosher hot dogs, arts and crafts for sale, free rides on the rocket car, free pony rides, a giant inflatable for children, a petting zoo, balloon twisters and a few treats Baskin is keeping under wraps.
She is still accepting applications from anyone interested in being a vendor. And get this—the table and the space are FREE! Residents who create art, crafts, or have interesting hobbies will have a showcase. UH merchants are signing up, saying they are excited about this opportunity to promote local businesses.
Baskin is taking applications from individuals and groups to perform on the entertainment stage. Amplification is provided. Got talent? Get an application and "break a leg."
Ready for Part 4: The Famous Hot Dog Stand? Kristin Hughes, athletic director of Heights High, will direct this spectacular finale. Heights High students will run the stand, using it as a fundraiser. Hughes expects their delicious hot dogs and signature specialty foods to draw large crowds.
For parade information, applications to march, become a vendor at the street fair, or perform on the UH stage, telephone City Hall at 216-932-7800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be the blockbuster event of 2011, guaranteed!
Anita Kazarian is a marketing professional, founder of Noah’s Landing LLC, and a longtime resident of University Heights. Contact her at email@example.com.