A scene from the Elk Grove Veterans Day Parade in 2017.

Elk Grove’s Veterans Day tradition will return on Monday, Nov. 11 when the 19th annual Elk Grove Veterans Day Parade will travel down Elk Grove-Florin Road.  

Thick smoke from Butte County’s 110,000-acre Camp Fire caused organizers to cancel last year’s parade. That was the first time in the parade’s history that it was ever cancelled.

Sophia Scherman, a longtime Elk Grove Veterans Day parade organizer, recalled when she and her husband Lee left a local U.S. Marine Corps birthday celebration and saw the smoky air during the day before the parade was to begin.

“I looked at Lee and said, ‘We can’t do this, there is no way,’” said Scherman, a former Elk Grove City Council member.

She said that she hopes that wildlife fire activity will settle down before this year’s parade.

“Each day, it’s another outburst somewhere,” Scherman said.

Many Veterans Day customs will return to Elk Grove this year.  A 10 a.m. ceremony will be held at the Elk Grove Shopping Center, near the corner of Sharkey Avenue and Elk Grove-Florin Road.

Organizers will read out loud the names of local veterans for the parade’s participants and viewers to hear. Those who would like to have the names of relatives who served in the military can contact the organizers before the ceremony begins.

There will also be a rifle salute performed by Elk Grove’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2073, as well as musical performances by singer Sheryl Tolson and bugler Baldwin Wong. Organizers also plan to have a vintage airplane flyover, featuring Bob Dayton as a co-pilot.

This year’s grand marshals are U.S. Navy veteran Maureen Gabriel and U.S. Marine veteran Elena Gamboa. Gabriel celebrated her 100th birthday this summer and she spoke to the Citizen about her life earlier this year. She was stationed in San Francisco during World War 2, and she continued to work at that city’s naval shipyard for nearly 30 years.

“I hope there will be a lot of spectators,” the 31-year Elk Grove resident recently told the Citizen. “It’s an honor.”

The parade will then start at the Elk Grove Shopping Center and then travel on southbound Elk Grove-Florin Road to Elk Grove Regional Park.

A lunch will be offered during the “stand down” at the park where veterans are welcome to mingle with each other. Lunch will be provided by Elk Grove’s Optimists, Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis organizations.

Scherman, the wife of a Marine veteran, has been involved with the Elk Grove Veterans Parade since its inception. She said that she enjoys watching children speak with veterans during lunch at the park.

“I love it when I see the little kids along the parade route smiling and waving flags, and holding their homemade signs that thank veterans,” Scherman said. “To me, that’s it. That’s what it’s all about.”

Street closures for Elk Grove Veterans Day Parade

The 19th annual Elk Grove Veterans Day is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11. Elk Grove traffic officers will close streets along the parade route.

Festivities will begin with a 10 a.m. opening ceremony at the Elk Grove Shopping Center near the corner of Elk Grove-Florin Road and Sharkey Avenue. The parade will then travel on southbound Elk Grove-Florin Road to Elk Grove Regional Park.

The police will close streets between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. for the parade. These streets will be closed:

-Elk Grove Boulevard will be closed from Williamson Drive to 3rd Avenue.

-Elk Grove-Florin Road will be closed from Bond Road to Elk Grove Regional Park’s main entrance

-The police will divert eastbound traffic on Elk Grove Boulevard to westbound Elk Grove Boulevard near Williamson Drive

-Westbound traffic on Elk Grove Boulevard near 3rd Avenue will be diverted to eastbound Elk Grove Boulevard

-Northbound traffic on Elk Grove-Florin Road near Elk Grove Regional Park will be diverted to southbound Elk Grove-Florin Road.

-Southbound traffic on Elk Grove-Florin Road near Halverson Drive will be asked to make a U-turn.