Parade preps underway; military to march again - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Parade preps underway; military to march again

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SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) – Fourth of July Festival organizers in Southport have come up with a solution to make sure those who fight to keep this country free are included in the Independence Day activities.

For more than 60 years, Southport has been the home of the largest Fourth of July Festival in the state of North Carolina. But earlier this year, it was announced that the parade in Southport would be missing the members of the military.

Due to the sequestration, the federal government didn't have enough resources to allow military personnel to be involved.

But thanks to the chamber of commerce, they've arranged for around 30 military police reservists to participate.

Organizers say celebrating the Fourth of July just isn't the same without war heroes.

"The Fourth of July festival is so special because of the people involved and the people in the community that gather together to celebrate our independence," said Karen Sphar, the event's organizer. "We can't do that without our military."

Thanks to the recent success from film productions like Safe Haven, Revolution, and Under the Dome, officials expect this year to be one of the most attended festivals of all time. In fact, more than 100,000 people are expected to be in town for the event, which kicks of this Saturday.

Business is booming as tourists are already making their presence felt around town.

This year's festival features several new events including a quilt show and a live pro wrestling event.

For a list of all the other events, click here.

If you can't make it out to Southport for the parade, we've got you covered.

Our cameras will be there to document the whole thing and we will broadcast the parade on WECT starting at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 4.

You can also watch from home on your computer at www.wect.com or from your smart phone, using the WECT News App.

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