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Lewis County Veterans Parade Moving to Chehalis

The Chronicle - 9/21/2017

Sept. 21--An annual veterans parade that began in south Lewis County is changing coordinates this year and moving to Chehalis.

Founded in 2008 by April Pennington, the Lewis County Veterans Parade spent its first few years in Winlock before shuffling over to Toledo for the past half decade. This year, the parade will follow the Christmas parade route down Market Street in Chehalis, and the Veterans Memorial Museum is joining the effort to honor local military veterans.

Pennington said that this is the first year the Veterans Memorial Museum has reached out to join the extensive parade organization effort. She said she is happy to see the event gaining popularity and exposure to what she hopes will be larger crowds. Previously, the parade committee consisted solely of Pennington and her daughter LuAnn Briggs.

"I figured it would be centrally located for Lewis County," Pennington said. "We're just so excited because there's so much more room to grow there."

The parade will be held on Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day. That date also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the doors opening at the Veterans Memorial Museum. In recognition of that milestone, a celebration will be held at the museum following the parade. That gathering will include a dinner catered by Bonanza Barbecue, music and guest speakers. Tickets to the dinner cost $15 and are available for purchase in advance at the Veterans Memorial Museum.

"We're really hoping that we can launch this off and make it a really good event for the Twin Cities," said Chip Duncan, executive director of the Veterans Memorial Museum. "We wanted to have the parade come all the way to the museum, but the permits to stop traffic and come over the interstate proved to be too problematic."

The parade is slated to begin at noon in downtown Chehalis. There is no fee to join the parade but participants are encouraged to register prior to Nov. 5. Last year, there were more than 100 entries in the parade, including veterans, businesses and private citizens.

"We're trying to encourage all veterans to come and dress up in their military uniforms and march with us in the parade," said Duncan.

Both Pennington and Duncan expressed hope that the Veterans Parade will be able to remain in Chehalis for years to come.

Registration can be taken care of at the Veterans Memorial Museum or by calling or texting Pennington at 360-266-7237.

Additional information is available online on the Facebook page for the Lewis County Veterans Parade in Chehalis.

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(c)2017 The Chronicle (Centralia, Wash.)

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