What better way to kick off Independence Day than with a U.S. Olympian?
Denton’s Jordan Malone, a two-time Olympic medalist in speedskating, will be the grand marshal of Denton’s annual Yankee Doodle Parade that is set to kick off at 9 a.m. Friday.
City officials said the parade has been a tradition for more than 25 years. The parade lineup begins at 8 a.m. at the Wells Fargo parking lot on Hickory Street at Austin Street. The judging of entries begins at 8:30 a.m.
After the judging, the parade will go north on Locust Street and wrap its way around the Courthouse on the Square, heading west on Hickory Street, then north on Elm Street and east on Oak Street. It will then turn north on Locust to McKinney Street, where it will head east and end at the Denton Civic Center.
Kali Flewellen, communications coordinator for the city parks department, said city officials have been working on having Malone participate in the Fourth of July festivities since April.
Malone won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and a bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games — both in the 5,000-meter relay.
“He represented Denton extremely well in the international circuit,” said Flewellen, who will also be Malone’s driver in the parade. “We are really excited to have him, and it’s a great way to kick off the day.”
At 9:30 a.m, Malone will hand over the American flag to the Denton High School ROTC in a short flag ceremony, Flewellen said.
“As the parade wraps up — about 10:15 to 10:30 a.m., depending on how many floats we have — Malone will announce the parade entry winners from the morning judging,” she said.
At 10 a.m., a free children’s carnival will begin in and around the Civic Center, where Malone will have a booth to pose for photos and sign autographs.
Flewellen said the first 150 children will receive a free Denton Parks and Recreation Department backpack for Malone to sign.
“Once they are gone, they are gone,” she said of the backpacks.
The day’s festivities actually begin with the Liberty Run 5K/1 Mile Walk, which starts at 7:30 a.m. at North Lakes Recreation Center. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and the cost is $20.
Also, from noon until 6 p.m., the city will charge only $1 for admission to the Civic Center Pool.
Friday’s holiday activities culminate with the annual Fourth of July fireworks show, sponsored by the Denton Noon Kiwanis Club, at Apogee Stadium. Entertainment inside the stadium starts at 6:30 p.m., with the fireworks show set to music beginning at 9:45 p.m.
Hank Dickenson, lead organizer of the event and deputy director of athletics at the University of North Texas, said the move from Fouts Field to Apogee Stadium last year received outstanding positive feedback and he expects an even larger crowd this year.
No coolers or food will be allowed inside the stadium, organizers said, as there will be concessions available.
Parking at either Fouts Field or Apogee Stadium costs $5 per car, and after expenses are deducted, the remaining proceeds will benefit the Denton County Kiwanis Children’s Clinic. The clinic provides low-cost and no-cost medical, dental and prescription assistance to disadvantaged children in the area.
Organizers said gates open at 5:30 p.m., and they encourage those who park at Fouts Field to use the pedestrian bridge to get to Apogee Stadium.
MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.
DENTON FOURTH OF JULY EVENTS
The following is a schedule of events for today’s Denton Fourth of July Family Fun Jubilee, as well as the Denton Noon Kiwanis Club’s fireworks show at Apogee Stadium:
7:30 a.m. — The Liberty Fun Run 5K/1 Mile Walk starts at North Lakes Recreation Center, 2001 W. Windsor Drive.
8 a.m. — Parade lineup starts at the downtown Denton Wells Fargo parking lot (access is from Hickory and Mulberry streets), with judging at 8:30 a.m.
9 a.m. — Yankee Doodle Parade begins on the downtown Denton Square.
9:30 a.m. — Yankee Doodle Parade ends at the Denton Civic Center and concludes with a flag ceremony. Live entertainment begins. Entry drop-off for the kids’ arts and crafts show starts. Display starts at 11 a.m. inside the Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St.
10:30 a.m. to noon — Free kids’ carnival in the Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St.
11 a.m. — Family Fun Jubilee starts. Senior Center luncheon, with musical guest Young at Heart band, costs $3. $1 admission to the Civic Center Pool at Quakertown Park.
5:30 p.m. — Denton Noon Kiwanis Club Fireworks Show at Apogee Stadium, music by Stage Fright and Raised Right Men begins at 6:30 p.m., fireworks show begins at 9:45. Admission is free, but parking at both Fouts Field and Apogee Stadium is $5 per car.