CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — You might remember the Navy Army Night Parade making it’s way through the streets of Corpus Christi, but this year the parade is looking a little different because it’s being held at the American Bank Center.
The American Bank Center is preparing for the parade by putting up plexiglass for the deluxe suites and making sure everyone is adhering to COVID safety protocols like social distancing and wearing a mask. They also made sure to separate seating according to social distancing guidelines from the health district. They also had to plan out the parade route, which looked similar to the route cars took during the drive-in vaccination clinics.
“Traffic flow of the parade is going to mirror what we did early on with the vaccine…the vaccination taking place here at the American Bank Center Arena…so in theory that was kind of a test run of how the traffic flow would go,” Matt Blasy, the general manager of the venue said.
Some people like Brooks Simon said the safety protocols help him and his friends feel safe during the parade while he is out in public.
“We’ve both been vaccinated and past the two weeks so that makes you feel more comfortable. It really does…it truly does,” Simon said.
Simon said he just moved to Corpus Chrsiti from Austin about a week ago and said since it’s his first Navy Army Night Parade, he’s getting to see the difference in preparations.
“I think that it will definitely be a twist because it’ll give me a diverse difference between how Austin does it and Corpus Christi. I’ve also lived in New Orleans so you know all Mardi Gra…all that stuff…yeah..it’ll be nice to see the difference in between the two,” Simon said.
As for float preparations, Roby Watts with Lone Star Parade Floats said he had to screw in the props, set up the float, and hang up lights when he got to the Ortiz Center’s parking lot where the floats were staying. He said he travels all across the United States for these types of parades, going to places all over the state and other locations outside Texas like Boston, Seattle, and Orlando, and said parades help him engage with the community.
“I like making customers happy. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I really like participating in local events and stuff like that all over Texas,” Watts said.
Watts and a worker for Lone Star Parade Floats also drove the trucks that carried the mayor’s float and the CITGO float.