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Frisco Community Parade brings large crowd: Event honored veterans, fostered city spirit
The float from DECA at FISD's Career and Technical Center won the $1,000 mayor's award scholarship in the 2012 Frisco Community Parade. Photo courtesy of Jane Whitledge.
The annual Frisco Community Parade saw a large crowd turnout Saturday to welcome back City Council Member and U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Tim Nelson, who recently returned from duty in Afghanistan.
Nelson served as co-grand marshal of the parade with Sgt. Carlos Liscano, a Vietnam War veteran and longtime Frisco resident.
The involvement of two military veterans was no coincidence: the parade was created as a way to foster community spirit while also honoring veterans, given its close proximity with Veterans Day.
For Nelson, this year's parade was a special one that he said he would never forget.
"The one word I would use to describe it is 'overwhelming' -- I didn't expect anything quite like that," Nelson said. "I knew I'd participate as a council member, but I didn't know I'd have that kind of honor bestowed upon me. I definitely feel like I've been blessed by a great community."
The parade, which started and finished at FC Dallas Stadium, lasted about an hour and a half and was attended by about 8,000 people. Buddy Minett, a longtime member of the parade committee, said that turnout is on par with the parade in previous years.
"That's about average [for this event]," he said. "More people now watch from the areas west of the railroad tracks, so it spreads the spectators across a longer area. It was very windy, but the temperature was just right."
The parade consisted of about 85 entries, including cars, floats and other vehicles. Entries ranged from "highly decorated trailers to a flatbed with chairs on it," Minett said.
Total entries were actually down from previous years, primarily because the Boy Scouts were grouped together in a single entry this year. Despite that, however, Minett said the total amount of people in the parade was actually up about 10 to 15 percent from last year.
Three scholarship awards were given to float participants at the event. The $1,000 mayor's award was given to DECA at Frisco ISD's Career and Technical Center, the $750 superintendent's award went to Legacy Christian Academy, and the $500 grand marshals' award was won by Boy Scout Troop 298.
Because of their awards, each of the aforementioned organizations will have a Frisco Education Foundation scholarship presented to a graduating Frisco ISD senior in their organization's name for the amount noted.
In addition to the three scholarship award winners, Christie Elementary won the award for the best elementary float and the Frisco High School Alumni's entry won for best high school entry. No middle schools entered floats.
Tony Felker, president and CEO of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce and a member of the parade committee, said the parade's planning is an ongoing process.
"We're already working on next year," he said. "We hadn't even finished it 30 minutes and we started saying, 'We can do this better, we can do that better.' There's nothing major we need to change -- we like the route, for instance -- but we're always looking for any kind of improvements we can make."
Minett agreed and said the annual event is a great example of how the city of Frisco, Frisco ISD, the Frisco Chamber of Commerce and volunteers work together to foster a strong community atmosphere in the city.
"It's a lot of work, but seeing all the kids and bands, athletes and commercial entries makes it worthwhile," he said. "I hope the tradition continues for years to come."