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updated: 7/1/2011 3:11 PM

Villa Park parade has new route, surprise grand marshal

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Villa Park's annual Fourth of July parade has a new route this year -- and a surprise grand marshal.

Villa Park VFW Post 2801 had to change the procession's path due to construction on Villa Avenue.

The parade steps off at noon Monday from Trinity Lutheran Church on Ardmore Avenue at Central. The route is west on Central to Harvard, south on Harvard to Madison, east on Madison to Summit, north to Park and then west back to the church.

This year's theme is "Standing Tall for Freedom."

The American Knights Motorcycle Club will lead off the parade for the first time. More than 20 flag-carrying veterans will be riding motorcycles in the parade, said Post 2801 Cmdr. Dennis Geiseman.

Other participants include marching bands from Willowbrook and Addison Trail high schools, horses, clowns and floats.

The VFW will serve free hot dogs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in front of the Villa Park Chamber of Commerce, 10 W. Park Blvd. Last year, the VFW gave away more than 2,000 hot dogs.

"We draw a good crowd," Geiseman said.

Beer will be available for purchase.

Trinity Lutheran Church will offer face painting and other children's activities.

As for the grand marshal, that's a secret until parade day.