Known as “Bundles for Britain” at its founding in World War II, Community Projects will be this year’s Fourth of July parade grand marshal.

Community Projects, which has operated a Napa thrift shop for 75 years, received the most nominating votes from the community, said Doris Gentry, chair of the Napa Sunrise Rotary-sponsored parade.

In its 75 years of reselling donated items, Community Projects has given more than $11 million to support school activities, playground construction and other needs.

This is the second year that the Fourth of July parade has had a group grand marshal. Last year’s event honored “First Responders,” recognizing the role they played after the August 2014 earthquake.

Sunrise Rotary received more than 70 nominations. “There were five recommendations for the moose head … again,” said Gentry, referring to the eucalyptus gnarl that now occupies a place of honor at Downtown Joe’s brew pub.

Other big vote-getters included Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Collabria Care (formerly known as Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services) and Liz Alessio, coordinator of Operation: With Love From Home, Gentry said.

This year’s theme is “America Serves by Giving,” which allows for copious amounts of red, white and blue to be displayed, Gentry said.

“Present your best rendition of your giving heart for Napa on this Fourth of July and show us how you make Napa a better place for all of us,” she said.

This year’s parade is expected to have about 100 entries, but with one major addition over past years: a community marching band, Gentry said.

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The pickup band is the brainchild of Nick Sanza to honor former Napa High band director Bill Crane, who taught music and other subjects in the Napa Valley Unified School District for 39 years. He died last August.

“By the time we march down the street we will be 60 strong, or more,” said Sanza, who is inviting participation. Practices will be held from 7-8:15 p.m. at the Napa High School Band Room on Kennedy Way on May 5, May 26, June 2 and June 16.

Planned songs are: “Western” (Napa High fight song), “Warpath,” “Grand Old Flag” and “Anchors Away.”

For information, email napanic25@aol.com.

Connie Elliott, president of Community Projects, said her philanthropic organization was brainstorming on how to participate in the parade. Perhaps past presidents will ride in a fleet of cars, with members marching alongside, she said.

Perhaps the group will display 75 balloons, with kids and grandkids joining in, she said.

Sunrise Rotary has funded and operated Napa’s Fourth of July Parade since 2009.

Submit any comments about Community Projects or the parade to Gentry at doris@dorisgentry.com. For information, go to NapaSunriseRotary.net.

This story has been changed since first posting to correctly reflect Liz Alessio's role with Operation: With Love From Home.

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.

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