This could be the biggest band parade in the Valley's history, an organizer said.
BOARDMAN -- "The Valley's Tribute to American Heroes: A Red, White, and Blue Parade" will be at 10 a.m. Saturday on Market Street to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, those who responded to help them, military veterans and active duty personnel and local police and firefighters who put their lives on the line every day.
The parade is presented by The Vindicator and WFMJ TV 21 and sponsored by K-105, Y-103, Hot 101 and The DeBartolo Corp. -- Denise and John York.
Groups, grand marshals: More than 130 groups are to participate in the parade, including some local military units and organizations involved in the Sept. 11 relief efforts. New York City firefighters Paul Iannizzotto and Robert Salvesen will serve as grand marshals of the parade.
Russ Preston, executive director of the Mahoning Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the parade should give local residents a better understanding of the relief efforts. Preston added that he believes the parade reflects the recent increase in patriotism among Americans.
"We think the parade itself is really appropriate because of the patriotic fervor," he said.
Vehicles lined up: The Mahoning chapter of the Red Cross will have a disaster vehicle, a Bloodmobile and an emergency response vehicle in the parade.
The Boardman Township Fire Department, meanwhile, will have a chief's car, a pumper truck and a ladder truck in the parade. Boardman Fire Chief Jim Dorman added his department is honored to march in the parade with local veterans and military units.
"We are really honored to be included with our military, who have protected our nation's freedom," he said.
Veterans groups participating in the parade include the Mahoning Valley Korean War Veterans, the United Veterans Council and the China-Burma-India Veterans Association.
Tracing the route: The parade route will go from Nisonger Road to the Boardman Township administration building. The reviewing stand will be at Taylor Oldsmobile.
Market Street between Boardman Boulevard and McClurg Road will be closed for about two hours beginning at 9:40 a.m. the day of the parade.
Tim Mulholland, the president of the Mahoning Valley St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, said Saturday's event "will go down as a great parade." The committee is organizing the staging of the parade.
"I think that anybody that sees this parade will remember it," Mulholland said.
The committee and the presenters have been working on setting up the event for about six weeks, Mulholland said. He noted that the committee and the presenters have been particularly concerned about the accommodations for the 17 high school bands set to march in the parade.
About 80 buses will carry the bands to the parade site, Mulholland said. The buses will be parked at the south end of the parade route.
"I think this could be the biggest band parade in the Valley's history," he said. "There is going to be a lot of sizzle."
In their honor: Helen Paes, The Vindicator's director of community affairs, said The Vindicator hopes the parade will serve to honor the victims of Sept. 11 as well as military veterans, current military personnel and firefighters and police officers. "All those people who put their lives on the line every day for us," she said.
John Grdic, WFMJ's general manager, added that the parade "is really about the heroes."
Paes also said she believes the parade will reflect the unity of purpose shown by Mahoning Valley residents since Sept. 11. "I think it's going to be one of the biggest shows of patriotism and unity in our community that we've seen in a very long time," she said.
The parade will be televised live on WFMJ beginning at 10:30 a.m. It will be rebroadcast at 11:30 p.m. Nov. 11, Veterans Day.