34th annual Easter parade draws another large crowd
Victoria Guadalupe Molinar,
Special to The Monitor:
Where else can people see clowns, roller derby girls and local political candidates get together to celebrate Easter other than at a parade? This past Saturday, 80 organizations participated in the 34th Northeaster Parade, including the Fort Bliss 1st Armored Division Band.
With the pleasant weather and wide array of participants, nearly 3,000 people lined up the streets for the Easter celebration, which started at 10 a.m. on the corner of Hercules Avenue and Diana Drive and continued for one and a half miles along Diana to Railroad Drive.
“This might be my fourth or fifth time participating in the Northeaster Parade and we always have a great time,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Russell Houser, the drum major for the 1st AD Band. “It’s always a great way to get out and participate and connect Fort Bliss to the community.
Led by a Fort Bliss color guard, the parade was an opportunity for businesses, organizations and politicians to both promote their causes and entertain spectators. Among the participants were high school bands, church organizations, Vietnam Veterans of America and even Truly Nolen Pest Control.
“This parade is basically a ‘thank you’ to the citizens of El Paso,” said Jack Sturgess, a chairman and coordinator of the parade. “It’s the second oldest parade in El Paso and there’s always a lot of enthusiasm with both the crowd and participants.”
One of the most popular acts in the parade included the performances of the Six Guns & Shady Ladies, an El Paso-based “Wild West” re-enactment troupe. The group, which was formed in 1998 by Bernie Sargent and his wife, Melissa, portrays historical gunfights and other American Old West events.
“Fortunately for us, we’ve won a lot of awards at the Northeaster Parade for our performances and our enthusiasm with the crowd,” said Sargent. “It’s a fantastic way to entertain and make history fun.”
Other participants that got the crowds going were the primary election candidates, including Beto O’Rourke, Jerome Tilghman and U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes. Even dogs were found participating in the parade while sporting T-shirts and stickers of the candidates.
Dogs weren’t the only animals seen participating in the Northeaster Parade: a Texas longhorn steer also walked alongside the Northeast Texans Youth Football group while the El Paso Country Sheriff’s Posse rode their horses.
“I think this parade is a wonderful example of all that’s good about America: people coming together and celebrating our community and country,” said Laura Gordon, whose husband and president of El Paso County Sherriff’s Posse Pat Gordon participated in the event. “And I just want to thank our veterans and service men and women who are defending us and working every day to make sure that we are safe.”
It was evident through the many smiles and laughs throughout the crowd that the Northeaster Parade was yet another success.
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