IDLEWILD — Among one of Idlewild's highlights of the summer season is the annual Independence Day parade. Area residents are invited to enjoy this celebration of community and heritage on Saturday.

Lineup begins at 11 a.m. at the old township school, and the parade begins at 12:30 p.m. This year's parade theme is all sports day, and kids are encouraged to wear their favorite sports team gear.

The parade is hosted by Mid-Michigan Idlewilders in conjunction with Yates Township and Idlewild African-American Chamber of Commerce.

"This year's grand marshal is a community group, the Men of Purpose, headed by Pastor Everett Bowen," said Florence Harris of the Mid-Michigan Idlewilders. "Men of Purpose do a lot for the community. They provide hot dogs after our parade each year, and they put on community Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.

"They also host Blessing of the Bows, and participate in the Christmas parade, providing hot dogs. We really appreciate them donating their time and resources to the community and we want to thank them."

Shawn Coffey, Yates Township trustee, was announced citizen of the year.

"Shawn Coffey provided hot dogs for this event prior to the Men of Purpose, and he has a big Halloween party for children each year. We want to thank these individuals for all they do for the children," she added.

After the parade, there will be sports games such as sack racing and basketball on Williams Island with prizes for children. The Men of Purpose will serve hot dogs and Doug the DJ will provide music.

"I am hoping we will have nice weather and for a good time to be shared by all," Harris said.