Local veterans will have plenty to do this Saturday.

American Legion Post 26 will be honoring veterans with its annual Veterans Day Parade, but there's more before and after.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. at the corner of 21st and L streets. It will head west before turning south onto G Street, then heads east on 20th Street before ending at M Street.

The parade will feature American Legion riders, veterans groups, marching bands, floats and more.

This year’s parade will be dedicated to Gulf War vets; the post dedicates the parade to veterans from different eras each year.

Post 26 commander Mick Edmondson said he’s expecting up to 50,000 people at the parade.

“This is going to be different because Veterans Day lands on a Saturday,” he said. “We should have a really good turnout this year.”

Much of downtown Bakersfield will be blocked off to accommodate the procession. Besides the closures of streets that will serve as the actual parade route, he said, 21st Street is expected to be closed from L Street through O or P streets, because that’s where parade participants will line up.

“Police Explorers are going to be helping out with directing traffic and monitoring the staging area,” Edmondson said.

Before the street festivities begin, the legion post will host a breakfast for veterans from 6 to 10 a.m. at the post hall, located at 2020 H St. Veterans eat free while nonmilitary attendees are urged to donate $5.

After the parade, a barbecue lunch will be held at the hall, hosted by the legion’s Women’s Auxiliary group, with catering hosted by Halliburton. Veterans once again eat free; others can pay $5 for a hamburger or $8 for tri-tip.

After lunch, Edmondson said, the legion post will hold an awards presentation for the best entries in this year’s parade. There are several categories, such as best veterans float and best marching band. The awards presentation will start at 2 p.m. and wrap up post-sponsored festivities for the day.

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 661-395-7368. Follow him on Twitter: @JLuiz_TBC.

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