Veterans' Parade of Flags set for Oct. 17 in Crossett

Gulf War-era veteran Cliff Bailey will be the grand marshal for this year’s Veterans’ Parade of Flags. The parade organization gave Bailey a motorized chair on Oct. 7. (VERSHAL HOGAN/News Observer)

Crossett’s Veteran’s Parade of Flags will roll through the streets on Saturday with the goal of leaving the city feeling so patriotic they’re seeing red, white and blue.

The parade, which will start lineup at 8 a.m. Saturday, will begin at 10 a.m.

“This whole thing started last year when I got upset because we had a rodeo parade, we had a Christmas parade, we  had a day set aside to celebrate Wiggins Cabin — and those are  all good things — but we didn’t have anything to celebrate the veterans,” organizer Billy Mayo said.

“The people of our area are coming together for this thing, and it is a community event for our veterans. I want Crossett to be known as an area that loves veterans.”

That’s why the parade is free and open to anyone who wants to enter it, be it with truck, float, unique vehicle, four-wheel horse-drawn or two-wheel horse-drawn vehicles — which, coincidentally, are the parade prize categories. 

The only requirement for dressing up an entry is that they fly an American flag, Mayo said.

“I have 30 American flags on my jeep, so I am setting the bar pretty high,” he said.“Dress up your entry; that is where your trophy comes from.”

When the parade isn’t rolling through the streets, Mayo uses it as a rallying point to raise money to purchase wheelchairs for disabled veterans.

 This year the chair went to Cliff Bailey, a Gulf War-era veteran. Bailey will serve as the parade’s grand marshal.

Mayo said he works with the City of Crossett and Century Next Bank to ensure transparency. 

“The (motorized) chair was right at $800,” Mayo said. “We had a little balance left over in the bank. I have been starting this thing out of my pocket, now I won’t have to start from scratch.”

The donations to the organization are delivered in the mail to the mayor’s secretary, who records them in the city computer and then deposits them in the bank. 

“Anybody can check on it,” Mayo said. “That is very important to me.”

After the parade finishes on Saturday, it will return to the rodeo grounds, where the prizes for the different float categories will be awarded.

“The Crossett Riding Club is allowing us to use the arena for our awards ceremony,” Mayo said. “We are going to have people go right in and we are going to give out the trophies.”

Those who want more information can contact Mayo at 903-391-4583.

Those who wish to donate to the parade cause may do so at PO Box 496, Crossett, AR 71635.

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