After Taking a Year Off, Independence Day Parade Will Be Broadcast Live on News Channel Nebraska

By 
Scott Stewart and Jason Huff
The Daily Record

The Ralston Independence Day Parade will return this year after being canceled due of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. For the first time in its history, the parade will be broadcast live on television and online for those who can’t be there in person.

The largest parade on July 4th in the state, the parade will be broadcast on News Channel Nebraska and streamed live by the broadcaster at metro.newschannelnebraska.com/watch. NCN is available on Cox Channel 116 and 1116. NCN is a subsidiary of Flood Communications.

Organizers with the Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce said that EJ and Hoss from iHeart Radio’s KAT 103.7 will emcee the parade for the seventh year in a row. They will also be featured on the NCN broadcast, according to a news release.

The theme for this year’s parade is “Tribute to Essential Workers” — recognizing the impact essential workers have had during the coronavirus pandemic.

The theme prompted an exclusive presenting partnership for the TV broadcast by Meridian Clinical Research, the chamber said in a release. The chamber said that Meridian conducted numerous Phase II and III clinical trials for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines for COVID-19.

“We felt this was an opportunity to provide a way for not only metro area residents getting to experience the parade but to provide an opportunity statewide with NCN’s statewide reach,” Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chairperson Jason Richards said in a news release.  “We’re also proud to highlight the efforts that Meridian has provided for the safety of the community and the nation.”

Nicole Osborn, founder and CEO of Meridian, said the company is happy to support the parade’s return.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating the essential workforces that kept life moving throughout the pandemic and have worked tirelessly to restore normalcy,” Osborn said in a release.

Brandon Aksamit, director of live event content for NCN, said the decision to showcase the parade while also honoring essential workers and America’s birthday was “a no-brainer.”

“We are thrilled to be working with the Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce and Meridian Clinical Research to bring this great parade to Nebraskans and hope that it will add to the 4th of July celebrations across the state,” Aksamit said in a release.

Shaun Dolphens, events committee co-chair for the chamber, said volunteers are still needed for the event.

“There’s a number of things we do need help with,” he said during the chamber’s members luncheon on Tuesday.

Volunteers are given tickets to the VIP viewing section for the fireworks show that evening.

The chamber is also selling T-shirts for Independence Day, with can be picked up or shipped. They are first come, first serve, so Dolphens recommended buying them early.

The parade will launch and air on Sunday, July 4, starting at 1 p.m. The day’s festivities will also include a 1-mile walk/run at 8:30 a.m. and a 3-mile race at 8 a.m. It is one of the oldest runs in Nebraska.

Fire department water fights will follow immediately after the parade at 77th and Main streets. The battle is sponsored by the Ralston Volunteer Fire Department.

The fireworks spectacular will be held at about 9:30 p.m. at Ralston Arena, 72nd and Q streets, and will be visible from surrounding areas. It is sponsored by Great Western Bank.

Visit ralstonareachamber.org/independence-day or go to the chamber’s Facebook page for additional information, including for late entries into the parade, regulations and sponsorship opportunities.

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