Camillus parade Grand Marshal announced

It may only be March, but the Camillus Memorial Day Parade Committee has been working since January to pull together the 2009 edition of the biggest parade of it's kind in the county, slated for May 25.

The 12-member committee announced last week Marcellus resident Sgt. Andrew Guelfi has been chosen as Grand Marshal for the 2009 parade.

Guelfi and his mother, Robin, and sister, Carly, 14, will ride in the parade together in May. Guelfi marks his sixth year of military service this year.

"He's the perfect fit for this year," Committee Co-Chairman Bernie Bunce said of Guelfi. The 2009 parade theme will be "Salute Our Military, Past and Present."

Bunce said Guelfi was selected as Grand Marshal to represent the young soldiers fighting overseas who are often forgotten on days like Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.

One of the other approaches the committee will take this year is working more closely with the Greater Camillus Chamber of Commerce to help publicize and fund the parade, Bunce said. The annual production, which requires months of planning, is funded solely through the Be a Star, Buy a Star program, and donations.

Even the flags for veteran's graves and parade-goers have to be purchased, Bunce said, and big-name parade bands, like The Hitmen, don't play for free.

Bunce said the parade, which travels through the village of Camillus, draws between 6,000 and 7,000 spectators each May.

This is the first installment of Parade Corner, a regular feature that will update readers and residents on the progress of the Camillus Memorial Day Parade, the biggest of its kind in Onondaga County. Throughout the weeks leading up to the May 25 parade, The Advocate will clue readers in to the hard work and dedication of the parade committee as they work to put together a memorable, exciting parade for residents of all ages.

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