In 2015, reconstruction of six blocks of Jeffers/U.S. 83 — the main Nebraskaland Days route through town — caused a temporary change in the Nebraskaland Days parade route.
When the construction was finally over two years later, the temporary change became permanent.
Before then, the traditional route for the big parade started on the south side of North Platte to Jeffers, then crossed the overpass above the Bailey Yard tracks, and ended on the north side of town at Cody Park.
Despite the historical and community value of the traditional parade route, the south-only route was approved.
This decision inspired northside resident Feliciana Nila to organize a Fourth of July kiddie parade this year on Ninth St.
After years of thought – she took a chance.
“I always wanted to do this,” she said. “I just really love helping kids.”
The motivated mother of five attempted the parade 10 years earlier, but had not been successful since.
This year, the first annual Fourth of July Kiddie Parade began at 2 p.m., after kids and adults decorated their “floats” just off Washington and Ninth.
Nila passed out flyers door-to-door for four days before the parade. She purchased candy and organized the 6-block route, heading straight east from the starting point.
Nine young children marched in the parade, accompanied by 10 adults. The youngest children were pulled by wagon, while older kids walked, ran, rode bikes or floated on hover boards.
A handful of north side residents cheered in support of the confident parade.
Although the turnout was sparse, organizers and onlookers were pleased. Participating residents have high hopes for future north side Kiddie Day parades.
“Nineteen people this year; 29 next year,” proclaimed one supporter.
Once the parade came to an end, kids and adults retreated to indoor air conditioning and Nila retraced the route to fetch some well-deserved popsicles.
“I hope to start a tradition,” she said. “It’s not limited to just Ninth St. If anyone wants to participate or has ideas on how to get a community parade going, I’m open to ideas and suggestions.”