The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club’s 4th of July parade has gone the way of many public events planned for this summer — canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The club, which has managed the parade for more than 35 years as a service to the Tri-Lakes community, is instead planning a 2020 4th of July Virtual Parade. It will be hosted on their website, MHKiwanis.org on July 4, and the public is invited to participate.

The free virtual event that carries the theme, “Celebrate our First Responders, Health Care Professionals and Critical Service Workers.”

Parade Director Rich Hicks conveyed the club’s overall disappointment in canceling the long-standing event. “We want to give our community something to replace the parade this year. That’s what’s behind our Virtual Parade and we hope the community will be inspired to join us in making this a great Independence Day event. We’re celebrating those who have sacrificed their own safety to make sure we come through this pandemic intact as a community.”

For the virtual parade, the club is creating a presentation of past photos accompanied by music. They are asking for the community’s help to make this happen by asking for residents to submit new 4th of July-themed photos and video clips in the following categories: Family and Children Projects; Community Organizations (Businesses, Churches, Clubs, Schools, etc); Equestrian & Large Animal; Military; Motorized; Critical Service Workers (First Responders & Health Care Professionals); and Musical and/or Dance (bands, marching, rock ‘n’ roll, dance, etc).

“We are hoping people will get creative with costumes, scenery, maybe even a float or a small band. Virtual bands are becoming a rage. You can build a virtual float, decorate your car or bicycle, dress up in patriotic apparel, film your driveway parade, film your neighborhood band,” said RF Smith, the club’s director of publicity.

Smith said the purpose of the virtual parade “is to celebrate and communicate the values and joys of a traditional 4th of July Parade, compensate for the negative impacts of COVID-19, engage our community in a positive exercise of patriotism, and connect the Club and community in a common purpose.”

Entries will be posted on the site for judging by the club on the basis of best representation of the theme, originality, workmanship, and appearance. Awards will be given for first, second, and third place in each category.

The club will award the top three entries overall a Grand Prize, Club President’s Award and Grand Marshal Award, respectively. Awards will be announced on the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club’s website and Facebook page.

The club will produce a composite video of the video clips provided and will post it on their website on Independence Day.

Free registration opened May 12 and continues through June 30 at MHKiwanis.org.

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