Bill and Evonne Williams are on a mission.
They are planning the second annual Patriotic Parade and Concert with Balloon Glow.
The public is invited to the event — scheduled for May 27 and 28 — in Omaha.
A balloon glow will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, May 27 at Omaha Memorial Park, 6005 Underwood Ave.
The Patriotic Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 28 in Omaha’s Old Market. A free concert will follow.
The Williams were the volunteer organizers of the honor flights that took more than 3,500 veterans – including those from the Fremont area – to Washington, DC, for a day-long visit.
They formed the non-profit organization Patriotic Productions, Inc. and created a national, 19-state-specific exhibit “Remember Our Fallen”.
In 2021, Patriotic Productions hosted a Patriotic Parade and Concert to honor Gold Star Families and Veterans.
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A second event is planned for this year. It is designed to honor Gold Star families, promote patriotism – especially among young people – and remind people of the importance of “Decoration Day” – now called “Remembrance Day”.
About 5,000 people attended the 2021 event. Williams said that included 200 Gold Star family members from 10 states.
This year, Patriotic Productions added the Friday Night Balloon Glow. There will be nine balloons.
“One of them is the largest American flag hot air balloon in the world – seven stories tall,” said Bill Williams.
This event will also include performances from the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the Commandant General’s Mounted Color Guard from Fort Riley, Kansas.
The parade will kick off activities on May 28. Gold Star families will march behind a 20-foot-tall Purple Heart inflatable, leading the parade.
Williams said the parade will include:
- The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band.
- US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
- Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard.
- American Eagle balloons.
- American flag flown at 9-11 in New York.
- Actors playing George and Martha Washington and Abraham and Mary Lincoln.
- Jenson Shires Draft Horses.
The concert will take place south of Hollywood Candy in the Old Market. It will feature the United States Marine Corps Band from Cherry Point, North Carolina.
Williams said 1,000 pancake breakfasts, 1,000 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, 1,000 HyVee hot dogs and apple pie slices, 1,000 Orsi pizza slices and 2,000 cups of Coca Cola will be available for free.
“We encourage grandparents to take their grandchildren off the football fields and T-ball fields on a Saturday to make sure they come and understand what Gold Star families are and how important they are. lucky to be American,” Williams said.
More information can be found at: patrioticproductions.org/patrioticevents.