The parades that run through downtown Hollister are like no other. They celebrate homecomings. They celebrate rodeos and holiday seasons.
And they celebrate heroes.
On Saturday, Nov. 11, Hollister will host its 16th annual San Benito County Veterans Day Parade and Ceremonies to celebrate the men and women who served our country.
The parade is sponsored by the Hollister Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 9242 and is co-chaired by VFW commander George Nava and Frankie Gallagher.
Starting at 1:30pm, the parade will be the finale for Veterans Day activities.
This year, Hollister residents Lt. Colonel Richard Castro, a Korean War and Vietnam War Veteran, and longtime VFW Post 9242 Auxiliary President, Dolly DeVasier, will be honored as the grand marshals.
Spectators will enjoy watching patriotic floats, classic cars, equestrian units, school groups, scouting groups, emergency agencies, marching bands and much more.
The day’s events will begin with a breakfast hosted by the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens at 7am at the Hollister Community Center. The following events will take place at the Veterans Memorial Building. The Veterans Benefit Fair will be at 10am.
The banner presentations, hosted by Congressman Jimmy Panetta at 10:30am, will feature the installation of banners on the light post in the Veterans Memorial Building Plaza and along San Benito Street that honor individual local active duty military personnel. The banners will remain in place until the service member is discharged.
State Assemblymember Anna Caballero will be a speaker for the memorial ceremony and a participant in the parade.
At noon before the parade, the public is invited to a barbecue lunch at the Veterans Memorial Building. Lunch will include a tri-tip sandwich, beans, chips and a drink for $10. Veterans eat for free.
Gallagher, who has co-chaired the parade since 2007, is excited about this year’s parade and its new floats.
“We have an incredibly strong group from the VFW and the volunteers that come out here year after year,” said Gallagher.
The VFW Post 9242 invited any and all veterans to ride on its float in the parade.
Spectators will see an additional float made by the veterans post, which will commemorate the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Gallagher said the evolution of the Veterans Day Parade and ceremony over the past 10 years has been phenomenal.
“I’m just honored to be co-chair of it and to be able to honor our veterans.”
Applications for the parade are available at the Veterans Memorial Building, online at vfwpost9242.org/announcements-events, or by calling 638-6434. There is no entry fee for this parade. Last-minute entries are still being accepted.