This year's Grand Marshal never misses Lombard's Lilac Parade

 
 
Updated 5/16/2018 1:28 PM
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  • Lombard Garden Club member Marge Neely, who has pruned her share of lilac bushes, will lead this year's Lilac Festival Parade.

    Lombard Garden Club member Marge Neely, who has pruned her share of lilac bushes, will lead this year's Lilac Festival Parade. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Marge Neely, a Lombard volunteer who says she hasn't missed a Lilac Parade in the 70 years she's lived in town, will see the festivities this year from the vantage point of parade Grand Marshal.

    Marge Neely, a Lombard volunteer who says she hasn't missed a Lilac Parade in the 70 years she's lived in town, will see the festivities this year from the vantage point of parade Grand Marshal. Daily Herald File Photo

If you've purchased a lilac bush in Lombard over the years, chances are you bought it from Marge Neely. And if you've ridden on a Lilac Parade float, you've undoubtedly waved to Marge Neely.

A 70-year Lombard resident, Neely said she doesn't recall a year when she and her family weren't front and center with their lawn chairs. This year, as Grand Marshal of the 64th Lilac Parade, she hopes for a different view of the festivities.

"My fingers are crossed that it's a beautiful day and I get to ride in the back of a convertible," the 87-year-old community volunteer said.

The 64th Lombard Lilac Festival Parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20, from Glenbard East High School, on Main Street at Wilson Avenue. The procession marches north on Main to Maple Avenue.

This year's theme is "Musicals of Stage and Screen."

"That should make for some beautiful floats and displays," Neely said.

Parade co-chair Ellyn Murphy said Neely -- a longtime Lombard Garden Club member, regular volunteer at the First Church of Lombard and several community events, and a previous Lombard Service League Woman of the Year -- was an easy choice among six finalists.

"She's done it all and truly has played a part in the beautification of the village in many ways," Murphy said.

As for the 124-unit parade, Murphy said to expect all the annual favorites from the Jesse White Tumblers to the Barefoot Hawaiians and high school marching bands.

"We run a family-oriented parade," Murphy said. "Everyone out there is watching to see their kids or their neighbors' kids and grandkids. And that's what its all about."

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