Planners hoping for crowd at AFD Parade

May 2—McAlester-area residents have already shown their strong support for the annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon.

Now, organizers of the two-day Armed Forces Day celebration in McAlester are hoping to see a similar response for the downtown AFD Parade.

This year's Armed Forces Day activities in McAlester begin with the Armed Forces Day Luncheon set for 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 3, inside the Aldridge Ballroom at 200 E. Carl Albert Parkway.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Christopher B. Williams will deliver the featured presentation, with the event already sold-out.

"It's a testament to this community, how much we care about our veterans," said McAlester Armed Forces Day Committee Chairman Jeff Wolf. "The luncheon sold out in one week."

Wolf and other members of the Armed Forces Day Committee are hopeful the same level of enthusiasm carries over to the downtown parade, set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, in downtown McAlester.

With the U.S. Air Force the branch of military service set for special honors, the theme for this year's AFD events in McAlester is "Fly Fight Win."

In addition to activities on the ground, several flyovers by aircraft are set for this year's downtown parade.

Aircraft involved include Warbirds and two F-16s, which are set for a flyover at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Also this year, local pilot David Verner will lead a post-parade flyover by several aircraft, Wolf said.

One thing that will be different for this year's AFD Parade is for the first time, the reviewing stand for the AFD Parade will be the new downtown pavilion/outdoor stage at the intersection of First Street and Choctaw Avenue.

Plans call for the AFD Parade to follow its usual route.

With the lineup beginning at S. A Street, the parade will start by turning right on Carl Albert Parkway and proceeding east to Fifth Street, where it will turn right and continue south for one block, then make another right turn and continue heading west down Choctaw Avenue to S. Main Street.

Among participants for the downtown parade is the 77th U.S. Army Band out of Fort Sill in Lawton, Wolf said.

He said there is still time to participant in the parade, even for those who have not already preregistered. No entry fees are required and they can participate by simply showing up Saturday morning at the parade lineup which begins on S. A Street and then going to the end of the line, Wolf said.

Preparations for the McAlester AFD events are going well, he said.

"Everything looks great," said Wolf.