Brookfield’s board of trustees has put out the call to residents and community groups: get the block together, have the kids decorate their bikes, pile some neighbors in the back of the pickup and join the Fourth of July parade.
On the heels of a scaled-back parade last year, Brookfield officials have slashed the budget for the annual Independence Day parade and picnic in Kiwanis Park. The village has budgeted just $9,350 for parade and picnic expenses in 2010 after spending about $15,000 in previous years.
While the question hovered as a possibility, no one favored eliminating the parade all together.
“Despite the fact that we have other pressing financial issues here … I think we have to find a way to piece this together,” said Village President Michael Garvey.
“It’s the best single event to bring Brookfield together at one time,” said Trustee Brian Oberhauser. “It’s such a core part of what Brookfield is.”
Actually, the village’s recreation department made deep cuts to the parade budget on its own in 2009, spending just $3,160 on parade participants, according to Arlene Rovner, who coordinates the event for Brookfield. Gone were regular participants like the Jesse White Tumblers, the Medinah Motor Corps, the Green Thunder and Rickover Naval Academy drill teams and others.
The Jesse White Tumblers alone charge $900 to participate in the parade, Rovner said.
As a result, this year’s parade will look very similar to last year’s, even though the parade budget for paid participants has been cut further. A couple of other parade casualties in 2010 will be the Genies and Their Flying Carpets and the Rickover Academy Marching Band.
“It’s not just the budget with the parade,” Rovner said. “We’re having a harder time getting bands, because schools and drill teams don’t have summer programs any more. We’d like to get the community to pitch in. I, personally, would like to see neighbors putting things together and just have fun.”
The after-parade picnic in Kiwanis Park will look much the same as it always has. Three bands, including the winner of the annual Brookfield Battle of the Bands, will perform, and there will be food and drink vendors.
By the way, this year the parade and picnic will be held on Saturday, July 3, since the Fourth falls on a Sunday in 2010.
“With our parade being in the morning and it being Sunday, we can’t get people to be in the parade and we don’t get many people to watch it,” Rovner said.
And with road construction ended, the parade will shift back to its traditional route along Grand Boulevard after a one-year detour down Prairie Avenue.