THREE OAKS — It’s almost time to run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.
Yes, Flag Day is , and few places in the country take it to heart as much as Three Oaks, home of the World’s Largest Flag Day Parade and, according to the 2010 census, a population of 1,622. A village tradition since 1953, the 61st version of the parade is expected to feature 95 units when the first of them step off at .
When the parade was launched by Herbert Flick, a World War I veteran and member of American Legion Post 204 in Three Oaks, it was conducted on Flag Day. Now, it’s the culmination of a three-day weekend featuring bands, a whiffle ball tournament, an art in the park activity in Carver Park, a pet parade, pedal pull and pancake breakfast.
But let’s start with the parade, which may not be the oldest Flag Day parade — that distinction goes to Appleton, Wis. — but no doubt is the largest, says Gail Freehling, the Flag Day chairwoman. Also in abundance will be patriotism, thanks to such parade entries as a semi cab towing a pair of trailers displaying murals of fallen soldiers.
Moving in more ways than one, the “Tribute to Our Troops’’ unit out of nearby Buchanan will be making its first parade appearance.
Back for its second Flag Day event is “Tribute to 9/11,’’ an entry by the Union Volunteer Fire Department in Wheeler, Ind. Also back for a second year will be the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps, a contingent of more than 100 based in Milwaukee.
Honorary grand marshal will be the late Michael “Brownie’’ Brown, a Three Oaks man who was gunned down earlier this year in a possible robbery attempt in El Salvador. In honor of the hometown hero who had been sergeant at arms at Post 204, a poker run he formerly organized in conjunction with the Flag Day Festival is now the Michael J. Brown Memorial Poker Run.
Following the event, a scholarship from a memorial fund will be awarded and checks will be donated to Post 204 and the Three Oaks Lions Club Sight Fund, said Barry Brown, the brother of Michael Brown.
Also, , a fast-pitch whiffle ball tournament with a maximum of five players on a team and no base-running will play out beginning at on the grounds of Three Oaks Elementary School. Proceeds go to a local food pantry. Anyone interested should contact John Balich at 269-369-7687.
For a list of events, visit www.threeoaksflagday.com.