Anyone attending Lombard's annual Lilac Parade Sunday will be sure to spot lots of tradition, from the smiling Lilac Queen and her court to purple floats and decorations.
But there also will be some new faces and, organizers hope, a renewed pride in Lilac Time, says parade Chairwoman Erica Fisette.
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"It's very family fun entertainment," she said. "We try to represent the true spirit of Lombard and we just want to showcase what the town has to offer."
The parade will step off at 1:30 p.m. in front of Glenbard East High School, near the corner of Main Street and Wilson Avenue. Parade participants will travel 1.5 miles, heading north on Main Street and turning east on Maple.
There are about 105 units signed up to participate, Fisette said. Local businesses and officials will take part in the event, along with a range of entertainers, from marching bands and bagpipers to tumblers and dance troupes.
Fisette said attendees can expect the parade to last at least three hours.
This year's theme is "Oh the Places You Will Go," which is based on the Dr. Suess book.
"We always like to have something that leaves a little bit up to the imagination of the parade participants," Fisette said.
Parade organizers have encouraged participants to "get more involved" with the overall theme of Lilac Time by wearing purple and decorating their float with lilacs.
"We want people to embrace Lilac Time even more so than they already do," Fisette said.
The Thomas Kelly High School Marching Band from Chicago will perform in the parade for the first time this year after reaching out to organizers to see if it could join the lineup.
"They're apparently very popular and we're excited to have them participate in our parade this year," Fisette said. "It's always nice when people are coming to us and asking to be in the parade."
Organizers of the first Lombard Ale Fest, which is scheduled to take place Saturday, June 14, at the downtown Lombard Metra station, will drive antique vehicles in the parade. Some new businesses and a new equestrian group also will be participating.
Jaycees volunteer Clifford "Smitty" Smith will serve as the Grand Marshal. Fisette said he was selected after the parade committee received three or four letters recommending him, including some from Jaycees' members who said Smith was a mentor.
"We liked the fact that he's been a longtime resident of Lombard and that he's been volunteering for an organization that is made up of volunteers and puts on some big events," she said.
For information about the parade or to get a behind-the-scenes look on the day of the parade, visit facebook.com/LombardLilacParade.