TOWANDA - A parade, which is expected to last about an hour, will be one of the highlights of the First Friday celebration on July 5 in downtown Towanda, an organizer said.

"Come and enjoy another exciting First Friday event!" states a press release about the celebration that was issued by Towanda's First Friday Committee. "The town is excited about our Independence Parade celebration on July 5."

"We have a lot of people come out" each year for the First Friday celebration that occurs during the first week of July, said Jay Cory, manager of Ben Franklin Crafts in Towanda. "It's one of the bigger First Fridays."

"I think we're up to about 45 or 50 entries" that have signed up so far to be in the parade, said Cory, who is a member of the First Friday Committee.

The First Friday celebration on July 5, which runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., has an "Independence" theme and will honor nurses and other medical personnel who served in the military.

The parade will begin at 7 p.m. The parade will start on Plank Road, then turn right onto Main Street and travel south on Main Street to Elizabeth Street. The parade will then turn left onto Elizabeth Street and end in the parking lot of the Progress Building.

Right after the parade, there will be ceremony at the Courthouse Square in downtown Towanda, which is expected to start around 8 p.m.

Here are some of the highlights of the ceremony, which is expected to last about an hour, if not a little longer:

- Towanda Mayor Garrett Miller will make opening remarks

- Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko will read the Declaration of Independence

- "Ben Franklin" will read a speech he made at the Constitutional Convention. "Some scholars consider that speech to be a masterpiece, one of the most important things Ben Franklin ever wrote," Cory said.

- Memorial Hospital nurse Pat Zeidner, who served as a nurse during Operation Desert Storm, will give a speech about nurses who served in the military.

- Parade Grand Marshal Grace Bell of Towanda, who served as a nurse near the Battle of the Bulge, will recite a poem that she wrote while serving in Europe during World War II.

- Mayor Miller will present a key to the borough to Grand Marshal Bell

- State Rep. Tina Pickett will present certificates to any veterans who served in the medical field in the military

After the ceremony, Ben Franklin will hand out free copies of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

There will be chairs set up for the public in front of the courthouse for the ceremony.

Here are some other highlights of Towanda's July 5 First Friday celebration:

- Park Street will be closed off for crafters' booths

- Piano students from the Magic Touch Studio will perform from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the lawn of the Bradford County Courthouse

- Kids will be able to make kites free of charge in the classroom inside the Ben Franklin Crafts store. Younger children can color pages inside the store.

- The KZFM KraZy KZ Cat will be prowling about, so make sure you stop and shake a paw with him.

- Singer Kurtis Parks will perform current pop music on the deck of the Weigh Station Cafe

- There will be a booth promoting autism awareness, which will have activities for kids to do

In addition, there will also be food available from Fred E's Catering and the Flying Cow Bakery & Cafe, as well as special sales at stores.

Groups that wish to participate in the parade should contact Pat Hoover at (570) 250-0703.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: