All are invited to witness the historic march of 5,000 Marines & Sailors on New Bridge Street and join in a Community Celebration at Riverwalk Crossing Park afterwards as well as other events planned for the day.
The parade, beginning at 10 AM, includes more than 5,000 Marines and is believed to be the largest in the history of Jacksonville. The event officially begins at the Freedom Fountain and proceeds along New Bridge Street to Railroad Street. The parade participants will be welcomed at the Riverwalk Crossing Park, where the public is invited to participate in a community celebration until 3 PM. Members of the Second Marine Division Association will also be present for their annual gathering.
Signs and banners to cheer on the Marines and Sailors are welcome. Everyone is encouraged to post photos with the signs or their attendance at the parade and community celebration to Facebook and other social media to preserve this moment. The hashtags #2dMD75 and #Followmeto75 have been assigned to the events.
Backpacks, coolers and large bags should not be brought to the parade or to the park. Items brought to the parade or park will be subject to search.
Seeing the Parade - The parade is to be at the Freedom Fountain at 10AM. It will pass a reviewing stand in front of City Hall where narration about the units and their legacy will be given. Large bleachers will be available at the lot near Warlick & Bayshore and at New Bridge Middle School. Onslow County and the Onslow Board of Education, will make available a hospitality area with bleachers at New Bridge Middle School. Veterans from all conflicts and branches and their families will be welcomed there. There will be many other places along the route to see the parade and organizers hope for a fully-lined parade route.Smaller bleachers will be spread along the route. You are welcome to bring a chair, but you’ll have to carry it into the area. The parade is expected to last slightly longer than an hour-and-a-half.
Security - The security and safety of the Marines & Sailors will require more street closings and screening that normal. Please do not bring backpacks, coolers and large bags to the parade or to the park. Items brought to the parade or park will be subject to search. Obviously, we encourage you to call 9-1-1 with any suspicious activity that could impact security and the safety of the troops, their families and the public.
The area around the parade route will be secured and Jacksonville Police will operate several checkpoints around the perimeter where you can enter to view the parade.
Easy Access by Park & Ride - Buses from three remote park-and-ride lots will shuttle visitors to the downtown and back to the lots after the parade. Parking will be provided at New River Shopping Center, the American Legion Fairgrounds and at Jacksonville Commons. Jacksonville Transit will coordinate the shuttles, which begin service early Saturday morning. You can avoid the screening downtown by using one of these shuttles as screening stations will be setup at each Park & Ride location.
Parking Downtown - Parking will likely be available at the lots near the Center for Public Safety at Marine Boulevard & Court Street. After 8:45, any spaces left in the area behind the Post Office and in the lot next to Warlick & New Bridge Street will be available. Other parking is in the area of Courthouse. Should anyone park in the neighborhoods, they are asked to be kind to those who live there by not blocking driveways.
Court Street - Court Street will remain open to allow transit to the neighborhoods and to the park until the parade approaches.
Friday - During Friday, some of the equipment that will be on display will be brought through Downtown Jacksonville and traffic may be interrupted. Bleachers will be setup in the street which may narrow lanes in some areas but will still allow traffic to get through.
Other Activities - The 2d Marine Division Commanding General has invited the public to a free concert. At 6 PM at Northside High School, the renowned 2d Marine Division Band will perform. The weekend also features a celebration of the 75th anniversary of service by USO and an open house is set for Noon-3PM at the site of the longest, continually operating USO in the world at 9 Tallman Street.
At Riverwalk Crossing Park - Marines and Sailors marching in the parade will receive a meal from the community. The public can enjoy food trucks, beverage vendors and are encouraged to view the equipment displays from 2d Marine Division including an Abrams M1A1 tank. Marines will be alongside the displays to answer questions about the equipment. The commanding general, Major General Brian D. Beaudreault, requests the community celebrate with the Marines and Sailors while recognizing this special anniversary and the ties our community shares with the unit.
Business Banners & Marquees - We are hopeful businesses and marquee owners will post congratulatory messages in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Division and the USO. Business interests in the area should contact Jacksonville Police Community Services at 910 455-4000 if they have not been contacted already about security and operational matters.
Bring Banners, Signs and Help Record History - Banners of congratulations for the Division and USO are welcome! Everyone is encouraged to post photos with the signs or their attendance at the parade and community celebration to Facebook and other social media to preserve this moment. The hashtags #2dMD75 and #Followmeto75 have been assigned to the events.