There are many annual events in our neighborhood that have lasted for years. But perhaps none has stuck around as long or enjoyed as much popularity as the Lake Highlands Annual Fourth of July Parade.

“I don’t know if there is an official record of when it started,” says organizer Tim Bubel, a member of the parade’s sponsoring organization, The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands. “It’s been around for at least 30 years.”

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Attendance at the parade, which legend has it began so many decades ago when a few neighborhoods kids and their pets began an impromptu march down the street, is as high as ever.

“We get anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 people, including participants,” Bubel says.

Bubel, who is organizing the event for the third year in a row, says the same tried-and-true formula will be followed this year: a 9 a.m. parade, followed by refreshments, games and entertainment outside the Lake Highlands Recreation Center at the end of the quarter-mile parade route.

“A bunch of people will bring old cars. Kids will dress up and decorate their bikes and wagons, and we’ll have prizes for those things,” he says, adding: “Anybody who wants to be in the parade can be in the parade.”

And, as usual, Lake Highlands High School bands, cheerleaders and the Wildcat Wranglers will be performing at the after-parade carnival, which will also feature a bounce house, petting zoo, a DJ and informational booths.

And the much-anticipated daredevils will be on hand as well again this year. “Jack Pyland and a group of skydivers usually come in, depending on the weather, and land on the soccer field,” Bubel says.

The parade, he adds, has always been well attended because “it’s meant to be a community builder – we’re not trying to compete with Macy’s or anybody like that.” And the fact that thousands continue to come out for it each year speaks volumes of the community, Bubel says.

“I think it says we’re involved. And that we care for each other.”