New efforts to boost Armed Forces Parade attendance

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – New efforts are being made to get people out to the annual Armed Forces Parade in downtown Scranton next month.

Over the years, attendance has dwindled but organizers are hoping to change that.

The parade will begin at 11:00 AM outside the Gino Merli Veterans Center on Saturday, May 19, 2018.

Scranton typically sees tens-of-thousands of people turn out for its annual Saint Patrick’s Parade and organizers would like to see just as many turn out to honor our region’s servicemen and servicewomen.

Signs are already up throughout downtown Scranton and now organizers of the annual Armed Forces Parade want to start a new “buzz” about their annual event.

“This year, I have ten new groups come in and asked to be in the parade so that helps quite a bit!” 2018 parade grand marshal Joe Sylvester said.

The parade is meant to honor all who served.

Attendance has been low in recent years and in an effort to help boost that the Ronald McDonald House in Scranton has decided to move its popular “Show Your Stripes” 5K Race/Fun Walk to the same morning as the parade.

Normally held in September, one thousand people usually take part.

“I believe that the parade is going to be something special this year. That’s why we’re inviting everyone to come out. You see this collaboration of everyone coming out!” Richard Bradshaw with the Ronald McDonald House of Scranton said.

The Tobyhanna Army Depot has also pledged to bring more military vehicles and equipment to set-up all around courthouse square.

That includes a night-vision goggles tent.

“We have a whole generation that really doesn’t know what we do at Tobyhanna (Army Depot). Since 9/11 it’s a closed post and we have people that have worked there ten or fifteen years and their kids haven’t had the opportunity to go in and see the equipment they work on,” COL Nathan Swartz, commander of the Tobyhanna Army Depot said.

Also coming back this year is the annual Armed Forces Luncheon held the week before the parade.

It was canceled for the last few years because of declining attendance.

Organizers hope all of their efforts will pay off.

“These guys go out there, they’re in harms way, they’re away from their family and all that and they don’t get the pay!” Sylvester said.

By adding the 5K race the morning of the parade and all the military vehicles on courthouse square, organizers say they want to make the parade more of an experience for families just like all of the events that are downtown for the city’s annual Saint Patrick’s Parade.

For more information on the 5K race, visit: www.Rmh5k.com

The parade itself begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 19.

The parade route starts at the Gino MerliCenter, South at Penn Avenue , East on Lackawanna Avenue, Past the Marketplace at Steamtown, North on North Washington Avenue to the grandstand on courthouse square.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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