UTA will be front and center as the city hosts the Arlington 4th of July Parade at 9 a.m. on Thursday.
It’s the 54th edition of the parade, which is Arlington’s longest running event. Over 130 entries and about 5,000 participants are expected this year, said William Busby, the parade’s communication coordinator.
The goal is to give the parade a hometown feel for the 45,000 to 60,000 people expected to line the streets, he added.
The parade will start at UTA’s Lot 49, south of campus. The parade will use West Mitchell Street to then go northbound via Spaniolo Drive, through downtown Arlington, then south on Center Street before going back to Lot 49.
It’s the second consecutive year the parade will run through UTA instead of its usual route through Abram Street because of construction, Busby said.
The construction is to finish the Abram Street Rebuild project, which is scheduled to be complete by spring.
He said the city hopes to move the parade back to Abram Street by next year because they are able to televise the event live in front of City Hall, but nothing has been decided yet.
“UTA could be the permanent route,” Busby said. “That’s still up in the air and kind of just depends on what happens at City Hall and kind of how that construction goes and what options are available.”
This year’s grand marshals are former UTA professor Allan Saxe and his wife, Ruthie Brock.
Saxe said he was honored to be named grand marshal, being able to represent his “two big areas,” the city and campus. Expect to see him in a convertible waving at residents, donning a blue cowboy hat.
“It’s just wonderful to be able to do that,” Saxe said. “I love UTA and like the city very much. Both institutions have been very good to me over the years.”
Busby said Saxe has selflessly given to the Arlington community, and the pair are deserving of this year’s honor. Saxe was named as the solo grand marshal back in 2011.
“You can’t go anywhere around town without seeing his name,” Busby said. “He’s done great philanthropic efforts. I mean, he is just a man that we should all strive to be like.”
UTA will also have its own entry in the parade, with student participants and a pair of floats with President Vistasp Karbhari riding along, said community relations director Debra Harrison in an email.
Student veterans, spirit groups, UTA Band members and at least one racing car from the UTA Racing team will also participate, Harrison said.
Busby said the city enjoys having the parade go through UTA and having a backdrop of College Park Center.
“We really do love UTA,” Busby said. “We love the partnership with the university and just the willingness and the giving spirit of the university for the Independence Day parade.”