A to A aims skyward Saturday

The Bellevue East High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets make their way east on Mission Avenue toward the beginning of last year’s Arrows to Aerospace parade.

Bellevue’s 46th annual Arrows to Aerospace celebration will hit full throttle Saturday morning with the Olde Towne Grand Parade.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m., rain or shine, and will proceed eastbound on Mission Avenue, culminating at Washington Park where many of the day’s events are scheduled.

Parade entrants will line up along Lincoln Road before entering Mission Avenue. Residents are asked to avoid parking along Lincoln Road after 8 a.m. to facilitate the parade floats.

Karen Mier, parade organizer, said about 80 entries have signed up so far and that number is likely to reach about 100 by parade time.

In addition to marching bands, fire and police departments and elected representatives, parade watchers will be able to see the Red Hat Society’s Voluptuous Villa Vixens, Nebraska Parrot Rescue, vehicles belonging to the Walter P. Chrysler Car Club, Great Plains Pointer Rescue, the Nebraska Off-Road 4X4 Association and – new this year – the Bellevue Leader Subscribers’ Recliner Precision Drill Team.

Parade prizes will be awarded in four categories – best business, best church, best community and best overall (the “Big Elk” trophy).

Parade judges will be Col. Hans F. Palaoro, vice commander of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Frank Harwood, superintendent of the Bellevue Public Schools, and Frank Kumor, school board member and owner of Erwin’s Jewelry.

A to A, however does not begin or end with the Grand Parade.

The events kick off Friday with a luncheon and bingo at the Bellevue Senior Center from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

That evening, a series of USA Cycling-sanctioned bicycle races commence from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Prior to Saturday’s parade, a downhill mile race will begin at 8 a.m. at St. Mary’s School.

A pancake breakfast featuring The Pancake Man will begin at 8 a.m. and last through 11:30 a.m.

Food, arts and crafts and games will be available through 4 p.m. at the park, while the Bellevue fire and police departments will display their capabilities from noon until 3 p.m.

The Papillion Area Concert Band will perform from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., followed by Hearts of Worship, which will perform from 1:45 to 2:15 p.m.

A bounce house will be available to kids from noon to 4 p.m., while a Pet Idol contest will be held at 12:30 p.m.

A dunk tank will be held from noon to 4 p.m., with prominent local figures ready to be dunked.

Police Chief Mark Elbert has agreed to sit on the dunk seat from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Other good sports occupying the wet seat will be Bellevue Chamber of Commerce President Jim Ristow (12:30 to 1 p.m.), Assistant Bellevue City Administrator Larry Burks (1 to 1:30 p.m.), Bellevue Public Schools Superintendent Frank Harwood (1:30 to 2 p.m.), Bellevue West and Bellevue East head football coaches Mike Huffman and Jerry Lovell (2 to 3 p.m.) and State Farm insurance agent Matt Ricchini (3 to 4 p.m.).

The dunk tank will cost $1 per throw, or $5 for six throws, with all proceeds going to the Eliminate Project, an international effort to eliminate Maternal-Neonatal Tetanus. The project is a joint effort between Kiwanis International and UNICEF. Funds from the dunk booth will be matched up to $1,000 by a private donor.

At 3 p.m., a drawing will be held for two bicycles, one for a boy and another for a girl, courtesy of the Western Fraternal Life Association Lodge No. 45.

A “Little Taste of Bellevue” featuring offerings from local restaurants, will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Full details concerning all A to A events are available at www.bokiwanis.org.

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