The East Valley Veterans Parade is an annual community celebration of Veterans Day and a chance for area residents to thank active and retired members of the military and their families for their service.

In 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, it became apparent that this year’s parade would not — could not — be business as usual, with thousands of area residents lining the parade route to watch more than one hundred parade entries.

teamworks brainstormed with the East Valley Veterans Parade Association to come up with a way to host a safe parade. How about a reverse parade? That’s right. The parade entries would be stationed along the parade route and parade-goers would become the parade — driving the route to view the entries. Participants were encouraged to decorate their cars. This ended up being the only Veterans Parade in the region for 2020.

The committee chose a theme — Celebrating Lives of Service — that would reflect the ongoing commitment of current and former members of the military to their communities through volunteer work and careers as first-responders.

The results were outstanding. People began lining up in their cars more than half an hour before the 11 a.m. parade start and continued beyond the planned 2 p.m. conclusion. Live music and parade announcement were aired on a designated FM station to add to the festivities.