Getting ready for Independence Day

IDLEWILD - Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets of downtown Idlewild as the Mid-Michigan Idlewilders hold their 13th Annual Fourth of July Parade at noon on Saturday.

The Mardi-Gras themed event, which also is being supported by Yates Township and the Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce, will feature 35-40 floats and groups that range from the American Legion to various sororities, horse and motorcycle riders, antique car displays and the Detroit International Marching Band.

Parade Grand Marshall Sam Rodgers will lead the procession from Baldwin Road and Tacoma, down Baldwin to Lake Drive, around Williams’s Island, down Martim Luther King Road to Broadway.

Mid-Michigan Idlewilders’ chairwoman Esther Ward said the event is “...like a big family picnic that draws children and adults from all across the country and it is just so thrilling to see the kids anxiously awaiting the candy that parade entrants freely toss out along the entire parade route.

“It’s a fun day for the entire community”.

The fun won’t end with the parade; there will be plenty of food vendors, face painting, music and a bounce castle for young children on Williams Island following the event.

Parade organizers will also have a brief ceremony where they will recognize the Rev. Winston L. Welch, pastor of the Historic First Baptist Church of Idlewild as the “2011 Idlewild Citizen of the Year.”

“The Mid-Michigan Idlewilders take pride in acknowledging contributions being made in the community,” said Ward. “We have been watching many of the things Rev. Welch has been doing for this community and our children.

“We look for people who are making a difference in the community. That’s why we are honoring him.”

It’s not too late to sign-up to participate in the parade.

Entrants should contact Esther Ward at (231) 745-9179.

During the parade, no traffic or parking will be allowed on Williams Island.