The 72nd Flag Day Parade, scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, will welcome back one of Appleton’s best-known hometown heroes. “We are honored to have Rocky Bleier escort the U.S. Flag in this year’s parade,” said Corey Otis, Appleton Parade Committee Chairperson. “As a Vietnam veteran, a football legend, and an exemplar of patriotism, perseverance, and service, Rocky embodies American heroism and bravery.”
Rocky Bleier, born and raised in Appleton, is a decorated Vietnam veteran, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back, and four-time Super Bowl champion. Bleier’s story has inspired millions, and he continues to advocate for veterans and others impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder. Bleier also serves on the board of The National Flag Foundation, which was founded to honor and respect our nation’s greatest symbol, the Flag of the United States of America.
The theme of the 72nd Appleton Flag Day Parade is “A Salute to American Courage and Valor.” Fox Cities residents have honored “Old Glory” on the second Saturday in June since 1950, making the Appleton Flag Day Parade the nation’s oldest. This year’s event includes several pre- and post-parade events. “It’s more than just a parade,” said Corey Otis, Appleton Parade Committee Chairperson. “It’s a celebration.” The celebration annually attracts more than 50,000 spectators and participants from throughout the state and nation to Appleton.
The fun begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, with the Downtown Appleton Farm Market. At noon, Houdini Plaza will host a pre-parade concert by the 484th Army Band of Chicago/Milwaukee. At 12:30, the 1st Brigade Band, a Civil War era band from Watertown, will perform outside The 10th Frame (618 W. Wisconsin Avenue). There is no charge for admission, and concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own chairs.
The 72nd Appleton Flag Day Parade begins at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10 at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and N. Oneida Street. The route travels west down W. Wisconsin Avenue to N. State Street, north on N. State Street to W. College Avenue. At W. College Avenue, the parade travels east and ends at Drew Street.
The Parade Grand Marshal, as always, is the United States Flag. Every year, the Flag Day Parade honors a branch of the military, and this year’s event spotlights the United States Coast Guard, which will be represented in the 2023 Flag Day Parade by three Honorary Parade Marshals: Retired Two-Star Rear Admiral Steven Day; Commander Doreen McCarthy, Deputy Commander, Sector Lake Michigan; and Commander Kristopher J. Nolan, USCG Reserve. The U.S. Coast Guard will also provide a flyover to start the parade at 2:00 p.m.
Other notable entries in the 72nd Appleton Flag Day Parade include:
- Nearly 20 bands, including 484th Army Band, 1st Brigade Band, Americanos Alumni Association, Unity the Band, The Positions, The 2/5th Party Band, Starfire, Echoes of Camp Randall (featuring members of the University of Wisconsin Band).
- Local marching bands, including all three Appleton public high schools, Kimberly Community band, Valley Troubadours, New Horizons, Lakeside Lutheran High School, the Lutheran Vanguard, and Appleton City Band.
- Veterans organizations, tributes to the Armed Forces, patriotic floats, marching units, antique and collector vehicles, horses, clowns, scooters, tractors, and much, much more!
- New for 2023: The Dancing Grannies of Milwaukee will join the Green Bay Professional Football Cheerleaders for a joyful, inspirational appearance in the Flag Day Parade.
- Pierce Manufacturing and WHBY will hand out free flags to spectators just before the parade begins.
The Flag Day celebration continues after the parade. Automobile enthusiasts are encouraged to honor the flag and show off their wheels in The Flag Day Cavalcade of Cars! Classics, collectors, and modified vehicles are welcome to salute America by cruising behind the Appleton Flag Day Parade. (For information, visit https://www.appleton.org/visitors/appleton-parades/flag-day-parade/flag-day-cavalcade-of-cars). In Houdini Plaza, The Echoes of Camp Randall, featuring members of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, will play songs from the “Fifth Quarter.” And at 6:00 p.m., The Positions will play the Appleton American Legion’s Post-Parade Party. There is no charge for admission.
The event is organized by the Appleton Parade Committee, a group of dedicated community volunteers. Follow the Appleton Flag Day Parade on Facebook for news and updates on this year’s event. Event details are also available on the City of Appleton website: https://www.appleton.org/visitors/appleton-parades/flag-day-parade.
- Schedule of events flyer is attached.
- Appleton Flag Day Parade logo is attached.
- Rocky Bleier photo is attached.
- Contact information for interviews can be provided upon request for Rocky Bleier, RADM Day, CDR McCarthy, and/or CDR Nolan.
- The media contact listed below can connect media with the parade committee chairperson for interviews.