WARSAW, N.C. (WNCT)--North Carolina's longest consecutive and official Veterans Day Parade kicks off Saturday morning in Warsaw.
The small town of about 3,000 will suddenly grow to over 10,000 as folks from across the state come to join in the fun.
The parade, founded by Judge Henry Stevens, Jr., first began in 1921 as a way to boost morale and honor veterans after Armistice Day. Since then, it's grown to include music, vendors, rides and, of course, the parade.
"Judge Stevens was a visionary," Dennis Riley, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said. "He probably never thought it would come to this, but it's lasted all of this time."
This will be the 97th consecutive year of the festivities. In 2016, former N.C. Governor Pat McCrory designated Warsaw's parade as the official Veterans Day Parade in the state.
"It just gave everyone a real boost and real sense of pride," Riley said. "Warsaw's been able to carry along that sense of pride all these years, nearly 100 years."
The parade begins on N. Front St, near the Warsaw Wellness Center, and will loop around onto Pine Street. Vendors will open at 9:00 a.m.
The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. with a flyover by the NC Forest Service, parachute jumpers and the singing of the National Anthem.
There will also be a kids area, helicopter rides, a VFW Memorial service, and an 18 wheeler display. The parade after-party begins at 2:00 p.m. with the "Chairmen of the Board" at the Warsaw Wellness Center and the "Antique Outlaws " at the Duplin County Veterans Museum.