Past central in parade

CNJ file photo Parade chairman John Montano says that this year’s parade will be one of the longest. First-, second- and third-place trophies will be awarded in each parade category.

By Helena Rodriguez: CNJ staff writer

Expect to see a 1963 Coca-Cola Cadillac, a three-star general and a record amount of entries in Saturday’s Pioneer Days parade. In addition, there will be a fly-over prior to the parade featuring four F-16 jets.

“Honoring Our Past” is the theme for the 2007 Pioneer Days celebration, which is also celebrating the city’s 100th anniversary.

“I’ve got 65 entries so far; that is a record amount,” parade chairman John Montano said Wednesday. Thursday was the deadline and he had “a bunch more coming in, so we are looking at having over 100 entries,” he said.

“The centennial has attracted entries we normally wouldn’t get. People are getting more involved with it as we celebrate our birthday,” he added.

Claire Burroughs, the community relations director for the city, said a group of 12 nonagenarians will be honored as grand marshals and will ride in an older adult division bus. Lt. Gen. Norman R. Seip, commander of the 12th Air Force and Air Forces Southern, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona will also be in attendance, she said.

According to Montano, many of the expected entries will consist of church groups and mounted patrols. He added that the traditional Shriners will be in full presence as will be commercial entries such as the Wells Fargo stagecoach. He said that not many politicians have signed up to participate.

“This is going to be one of our longest parades,” Montano said. “We have a lot of entries, and a lot of multiple entries, so expect a good parade.”

First-, second- and third-place trophies will be awarded in each parade category, along with a sweepstakes trophy.