Easter is coming up this weekend, which means it’s time for the Kiwanis Ahwatukee Easter Parade and Spring Fling to march back into town.
The 34th annual Kiwanis Ahwatukee Easter Parade will feature around 70 entries as it makes its way up 48th Street on Saturday, said Mike Schmitt, who has had the title of “Easter Parade Boss” for the past 18 years.
An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 spectators usually line up along the parade route, sitting on lawn chairs and blankets, Schmitt said. This year’s parade starts at 10 a.m. at 48th Street and Warner Road and will proceed north to Cheyenne Drive.
KMLE’s Tim Hattrick and Willy D. Loon will serve as grand marshals – the second time for the duo, who originally had that duty about 10 years ago, Schmitt said.
Contestants will compete for trophies in eight categories, plus a “best of parade” prize. Entries include local churches, school bands, dance teams, elected officials and anywhere from 700 to 1,000 Girl Scouts.
“They love being in it. This has been going on for so many years that last year we had a judge who marched in the parade as a Girl Scout 15 years earlier,” Schmitt said.
After the parade, spectators and parade participants can head over to the Ahwatukee Community Center at 48th Street and Warner Road for the Spring Fling, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This is about the 10th year for the Spring Fling, which usually attracts between 5,000 and 7,000 people, said Andi Pettyjohn, event organizer and secretary of the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee.
Entertainment will be provided throughout the day from local dance and musical groups. Participants can also enjoy carnival games and food.
Plus, Easter egg hunts will be ongoing throughout the day, so there’s no need to arrive at the Spring Fling early to participate, Pettyjohn said.
“They have two different locations,” Pettyjohn said. “So while they’re having the hunt in one location, they’re refueling the other one.”
But the Spring Fling is more than a kid’s affair. This year’s festivities will feature a record number of vendors selling everything from artwork to jewelry to clothing.
More than 70 booths will be at this year’s event for festivalgoers to peruse, up from the usual 50, Pettyjohn said.
Also, Midfirst Bank will be on hand with its coin van, which is new this year, Pettyjohn said. The bank will accept donations to help with the cost of the parade and Spring Fling, with all donations to the Kiwanis being matched up to $1,000.