Farm Bureau seeks parade participants

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation wants to involve as many interested agricultural groups as possible in Richmond’s traditional autumn parade. Suffolk farmers and other agri-business interests are also invited to participate.

The Virginia Farm Bureau Autumn Harvest Parade ( will be held Oct. 11. This year’s parade theme is &uot;A Salute to the Troops and Our Everyday Heroes&uot; in honor of the men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces, as well as others who work hard to protect and serve this nation.


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That includes farmers, said VFBF President Bruce L. Hiatt. &uot;In a parade that traditionally has marked the harvest season, we most certainly want to honor the people who produce the safest and most affordable food supply in the world,&uot; Hiatt said. &uot;We are hoping Virginia agricultural organizations will step forward to participate in the parade or to sponsor other interested participants. We’re also interested in recruiting marching bands from schools in farming communities.&uot;

The Autumn Harvest Parade is one of the few remaining night-time parades on the East Coast.

The parade will begin at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles building on West Broad Street and travel about two miles to the intersection of Broad and Staples Mill Road, near the Shops at Willow Lawn. General parade information is available at

Applications are being accepted through Sept. 15 from bands, float sponsors and other interested parties. Participant information and application forms can be found on the parade Web site or requested by calling 804-673-2177.

The 2003 event marks the 18th year of the parade, though last year’s parade was postponed and ultimately cancelled in the wake of sniper shootings in the Washington and Richmond areas. Approximately 150,000 spectators attended the 2001 parade.

The first Autumn Harvest Parade was held in 1985. For many years before that, Richmond played host to the National Tobacco Festival, which included a Saturday evening parade. When the Tobacco Festival ceased in the early 1980s, a small group of Richmond residents formed a nonprofit corporation to continue the parade tradition. Farm Bureau became the event’s principal sponsor in 2002.

Contact Pam Wiley, VFBF publications editor, at 804-290-1128.