SAN ANTONIO — Visit San Antonio put a lot of work into this years Armed Forces River Parade on Saturday as the kick-off for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
"The theme of our parade this year is 'Let Freedom Ring,' so all of our floats represent freedom, of the air, the seas, the land," said Visit San Antonio’s Director of Riverwalk Operations Maggie Thompson
Workers put the final touches on 19 star-spangled barges for the annual river parade.
"It's the 10th annual year, but it's only the second year we've celebrated this parade during Fourth of July weekend,” said Visit San Antonio President and CEO Marc Anderson.
Anderson said holding the river parade on fourth of July weekend could not be more appropriate.
"It is one of the most celebratory, fun events for all San Antonians to come down to San Antonio and celebrate our status as Military City U.S.A."
The parade officially started at 11 a.m., but director of Riverwalk operations Maggie Thompson suggests being there at 10:30 a.m. to get a good spot.
"We have plenty of room, we do expect a lot of people down here,” she said. “It's a great weekend for family, for military to just celebrate the U.S."
She is particularly excited about this year's Grand Marshalls: four veterans participating in Morgan’s Wonderland's STRAPS adaptive sports program.
"Some of them are Paralympians, so we're very excited to have them be our Grand Marshalls this year."
The floats take two weeks to prepare but planning for the parade takes an entire year. Thompson and Anderson both said that working on this parade helps them feel closer to the military members in their own families.
"My son and daughter-in-law are both in the Navy and my Day was in the Navy,” Thompson said. “So, I love being able to celebrate the Armed Forces."
The sights at the Riverwalk this weekend go beyond the colorfully adorned river barges. Over 1000 American flags will line the Riverwalk and through the weekend and artisans will have their work on display from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Anderson said the weekend’s events are a great way for San Antonians to show service-members that they care.
"I think it's our chance as San Antonians, as Texans, as Americans, to acknowledge them and Celebrate them," Anderson said.