APPLETON (WLUK) -- A summertime tradition in Appleton is back on -- tentatively.
Organizers of the Appleton Flag Day Parade say the 70th edition of the celebration will take place June 12.
"Not only a milestone year but also quite an important year to get back to be able to get some normalcy back, get people back together to celebrate the flag and what it all stands for," Appleton Parade Committee member Eric Stadler said.
Like many other events, the parade was put on hold last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event typically draws more than 50,000 spectators to Appleton.
"Our city health director gave us the thumbs up that he thought that the way the rate of vaccinations are being administered and so on and the downward trend of the amount of cases and hospitalizations that we could safely have an event," Stadler said.
"By summer, most of Wisconsin could be vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease that in one year has killed more than 6,000 residents and hospitalized more than 26,000," Appleton Public Health Officer Kurt Eggebrecht said in a news release. "Additionally as vaccination rates increase, we anticipate that our community burden rate of disease will trend downward."
"The Appleton Parade Committee is encouraged by recent data trends and is optimistic about June 12th," parade committee chair Corey Otis said in a news release. "We continue to closely monitor COVID-19 data and are proceeding with caution."
"What is unique about a parade is that we can socially distance attendees over two mile periods. So that's really a good thing that being such a unique event you won't have a mass of people in one conglomerated area so we can spread everyone out and be safe about it," Stadler said.
If disease activity rises, the parade will be rescheduled to Sept. 11. An announcement would be made by May 21.
Attendees will be encouraged to take steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus: They are being asked to wear face coverings, physically distance from those outside their households and wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer regularly.
This year's theme is "Home of the Brave," honoring hometown heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We want to make sure that they're highlighted, as much as they have been a little bit here and there throughout the year but this is really kind of that new opportunity where we come together as a community and can really do it. in a grand style," Stadler said.
Organizations interested in entering the parade can apply online. The parade is set to step off at 2 p.m. at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Oneida Street, proceeding west on Wisconsin Avenue, south on State Street and east on College Avenue, ending at Drew Street.
Appleton touts its Flag Day parade as the nation's oldest, having first taken place in 1950.
While the Flag Day parade is set to go on in June, Appleton's Memorial Day parade less than two weeks earlier has been canceled amid the pandemic. The Memorial Day Moment of Remembrance Ceremony will be held virtually and available to watch online. Details will be released on the parade's Facebook page.