UTA Interim President Teik Lim recalled his disappointment when he found out he was preparing for a parade, with then Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, that never came last year.
“I worked really really hard to get all the bands ready, and then I got the cancellation,” Lim said.
Everyone who got involved felt let down after all that preparation, he said. But this year, he said he felt great to be able to attend the parade and ride on the UTA float.
Beginning on South West Street, Lim was one of the hundreds of attendees to participate in the Arlington Independence Day Parade on Monday after last year’s hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual parade has become the oldest, longest running event in Arlington since it began in 1965. COVID-19 precautions were not mandated at this event.
Lim rode on the UTA float along with his wife, UTA faculty and staff, and the Maverick Cheerleaders.
More than 100 floats cruised through Downtown Arlington, including participants like Arlington Mayor Jim Ross and men from the Moslah Shrine riding in bright yellow buggies.
“We are back this year, we’re back stronger than ever,” said William Busby, communications coordinator for Arlington’s Independence Day Parade.
Busby was happy to celebrate with the community, not only for the parade, but the challenges they have faced in the past 15 months.
In response to the pandemic, the Grand Marshals for this year’s parade were healthcare workers to honor them for fighting the COVID-19 virus throughout the past year.
“They've spent a lot of time away from their families, and they've sacrificed so much,” Busby said. “This is our way to say thank you to them as we gather together and celebrate on July fifth.”
Crowds adorned in red, white and blue. Children to elders, everyone cheered at fanfares from local high school bands and stunts from The World Famous Wheelie-ing Elvi.
Arlington residents Jana Gorz, 38, and Jacque Cummings, 69, sat and waited in front of the First Baptist Church of Arlington on South Center Street. They have been coming to the parade for 37 years.
“It was really, really hard to not have that tradition [last year],” Gorz said. “So we're really glad that it got to come back this year.”