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WARREN RECORD FILE PHOTO

Lady Liberty was among participants in last year’s July 4th parade in Wise.

A Warren County summer tradition will continue on July 4 as Wise celebrates freedom, the diversity of its community and the red, white and blue with its annual Independence Day Parade and Festival.

Businesses in Wise and other areas of Warren County are sponsoring this year’s event.

Proving that you don’t have to travel out of the county to enjoy July 4th activities, the annual celebration  honors local veterans and offers music, vendors, food and fun for all ages.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. with lineup beginning at 9 a.m. at the home of Bruce and Delaine Perkinson, 1625 U.S. Hwy. 1 north, Norlina. The parade will follow a flag-lined route down Wise’s main street, otherwise known as U.S. 1, to Wise Baptist Church.

Parade organizers encourage the public to arrive early to claim the best viewing spots along U.S. 1. Members of the Hawtree Volunteer Fire Department will be at each intersection along the parade route to direct traffic to ensure that the parade moves along smoothly.

Parade organizers add that in past years, some unsuspecting motorists traveling through Wise on July 4 have unintentionally become part of the parade. Anyone caught in this situation this year is urged to join in the fun by waving to the crowd.

The grand marshal for the 2019 parade will be Frank Newell, veteran of the U.S. Army and Army National Guard. Retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services, he is known in the community for his efforts as a wildlife rehabilitator and with the Eastern Bluebird Rescue Group.

The parade will feature a special float honoring veterans of all wars and all ages, a Vietnam-era medical helicopter, horses, tractors and more.

The Independence Day Festival will follow the parade from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. under the shade trees at Wise Baptist Church, 1840 U.S. Hwy. 1 north, Norlina.

At noon, there will be a pause in activities as veterans will be recognized with a plaque and the singing of the National Anthem.

The festival will feature music by TNT, the New Tranzition Band, food, vendors, games and other fun.

Food that will be available includes barbecue sandwiches, homemade ice cream, a variety of chicken wings, fries, turkey legs, cookies, hamburgers, hot dogs, sno balls/sno cones, barbecued ribs, fish and more.

Other vendors will offer wares such as leatherworks, clothing and other items. Event T-shirts will be available in adult and children’s sizes.

Activities for children will include balloons, bounce houses, rides and games.

Event organizers invite local residents and visitors to the area to bring lawn chairs to enjoy a patriotic celebration with small community hospitality.

For information about registering a parade entry, contact Bruce Perkinson at 252-432-5307. Four-wheelers and motorcycles will not be allowed.  Interested vendors may contact Mary Anne Perkinson at 252-432-3562. The deadline for vendor forms is June 30.