By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The Downtown Raeford Business Association (DRBA) plans to hold a parade to honor veterans, and will decorate downtown Raeford with special banners bearing the names of veteran honorees for this year’s event.
The parade will be held on Main Street Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m. and will kick off with a parachutist jumping in. The organizers plan to put the banners up next week.
The event is not commercialized and is all about the veterans, DRBA Secretary Shelley Wilburn said. There won’t be vendors on the street, though some of the local businesses may stay open to provide refreshments. The DRBA also has some small American flags they plan to hand out to the crowd.
Rain or shine, the participants will line up on Stewart Street. From there they will make their way to Campbell Avenue and turn onto Main Street. The parade will follow Main Street down to the library and turn onto Donaldson Avenue, then make their way back to the staging area by going down Stewart Street.
Walkers will stage behind BB&T in the parking lot to join the parade once the vehicles have passed, so they won’t have to walk as far. There will be tents set up for their comfort and event staff to assist.
The idea came about as the DRBA members, all involved in the downtown community, discussed the impact of veteran-owned local businesses.
“When we meet we talk about different businesses in town. We were talking about how a lot of them are veteran-owned, or the people who own them have children in the military,” Wilburn said.
They wanted to celebrate living veterans, and remember those who have passed. They selected 24 local veterans as the “class of 2021” honorees, and would like to honor more next year. The honorees, or family member representatives, will take part in the parade.
The idea of a parade came about as a way to allow for a safer outdoor event due to COVID-19.
“Now we can be outdoors, people can come out and we can have a fellowship and let the veterans meet with each other,” Wilburn said.
Decorated vehicles, a veterans’ motorcycle group, walkers and other entries will take part in the parade.
“Please invite others to line Main Street to celebrate those that have served and remember those we have lost,” Wilburn said in an email.