A Greenwood neighborhood will continue its annual tradition this year to honor veterans and bring residents together.
For the fourth year, residents of The Reserve at Timbers Edge, a 106-home community off Fry Road, will stage an Independence Day parade, complete with classic cars, music, baton twirling and a queen.
At last year’s parade, more than 50 people marched or rode in the parade, representing close to 40 percent of the homes in the community. Most of the remaining residents sit along the route and watch, according to Ken and Judy Haupt, two of the event organizers.
The idea to host their own parade came up in a discussion among residents a few years ago. The goals: to come together as a community and to honor veterans, who make up many of the residents in the maintenance-free community.
“I bet most of the people who live here are veterans,” Ken Haupt said. “This is a nice way to have the community come together on a holiday and be able to express themselves. It gives us a sense of unity without having to leave or going to another parade or festival. Everybody can stay here and celebrate together.”
Residents still watch fireworks displays, such as last week’s Greenwood Freedom Festival, today’s Franklin Firecracker Festival or in downtown Indianapolis on Friday, but the parade in Timbers Edge allows them as a neighborhood to recognize veterans and promote a sense of patriotism, Judy Haupt said.
“My father was a World War II veteran,” she said. “The Fourth of July was always important to me growing up as a child. It’s so neat to come here in the morning, especially on the Fourth, and see flags out on almost every unit. You’ll see a lot of people’s children or grandchildren at the parade, and we are trying instill it in a younger generation.”
This year, residents will miss Roy and Rogene Wolf, who were longtime residents of the community and active participants in the parade. Roy Wolf, a World War II veteran, rode a patriotically adorned recumbent bicycle through the parade route in his mid-80s. Roy and Rogene Wolf died within eight days of one another in January.
“I will have a lump in my throat when I go by their house,” Judy Haupt said. “They will be sorely missed.”
The parade began in 2011 when a group of residents thought it would be nice to recognize the holiday on a local level.
“We have veterans who live here, and it’s an opportunity to honor them and celebrate our country’s birthday. Plus, it’s another chance for the whole community to get together,” resident Stacy Jo Cox said.
Residents of the community, which includes a range of ages from retirees to families with children living at home, frequently get together at the pool and clubhouse.
“I’ve lived here 10 years, and it just seems with every new person who moves in, we get more people involved in getting together and doing things,” resident Susan Tissot said. “I think mainly what you have here are just people who are looking for community.”
The modern trend for neighborhoods is for residents to remain largely anonymous, Ken Haupt said.
“Years ago you knew everybody in your community, and that’s the way it is here. There might be a small percentage who don’t get involved, but three-fourths of the community here knows each other. Any opportunity we have to get together, we do it,” he said.
Most of the planning for the annual parade involves residents working on their own entry, usually a bicycle or car featuring patriotic decorations. A parade committee helps publicize the event. The parade has grown each year, with more than 50 entries in last year’s event, he said.
“You never know exactly who or what is going to be in it until they start gathering at the gazebo that morning,” he said.
The parade is a chance for residents to have fun and show their talents. Leigh and Patty Evans dress in full costume as George and Martha Washington. Tissot, who was a majorette in high school, will still twirl a baton.
One of the best parts of the parade is to see veterans along the route, Peggy Oberkfell said.
“Some of those people can’t participate in the parade, but they will bring their chairs to the curb, and we wave to them as we go by,” she said. “It gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s a good day.”