COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- From a weather perspective, the timing of this year's downtown Veterans Day couldn't be better.
Last weekend, temperatures dropped below freezing and as much a foot of snow fell in some parts of the Pikes Peak region; on Saturday, however, the forecast for the 10 a.m. start is sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s.
The parade will begin at the intersection of Tejon and St. Vrain streets, proceeding south for eight blocks until the procession of floats, bands and marchers ends at Vermijo Avenue.
Organizers say that the parade usually draws between 30,000 and 40,000 spectators.
"Patriotism" is the theme for this year's parade; 17 particpants are listed in the lineup.
Among the floats is one that was still under construction Friday by Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center; that agency is teaming up with two other military organizations and a local auto dealership.
Helping to build the float -- and a passenger on it Saturday -- is Glen Cooper, a retired sergeant at Fort Carson and a 25-year Army veteran.
"Five combat deployments -- three to Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia," he recalled. "I was injured on my second tour to Iraq, earned the Purple Heart for being injured by an IED (improvised explosive device)."
Cooper said that enjoying the parade has nothing to do with earning medals; it's about proudly serving his country, and that's something most of the parade spectators can relate to and appreciate.
"It's one of the greatest things about Colorado Springs that we do have," he emphasized. "Some of the other places I've been, there hasn't been that much support. To each their own."
Police will have extra personnel on duty to manage traffic and a large crowd.
"We're doing risk analysis ahead of it," said police spokesman Ira Cronin. "We're not anticipating any problems -- but of course, our officers will always be there if something were to become a problem. We'll deal with it quickly in a way that tries to safeguard the community."
Cronin asks that while spectators enjoy the parade, they remain alert for any sign of trouble and be ready to report it immediately.
"With the world we live in today and the military often a target for criticism, if you see something, say something," he said.
Except for being canceled in 2020, the parade under its current nonprofit management has rolled through its downtown route every year since 2000; the city has previously had other Veterans Day parades under different management.
From 7 a.m. until noon Saturday, Tejon Street will be closed from Cache La Poudre Street to Cimmaron Street; there will also be closures between Cascade and Nevada avenues on Dale Street, Willamette Avenue, St. Vrain Street, Boulder Street., Platte Avenue, Bijou Street, Kiowa Street, Pikes Peak Avenue and Colorado Avenue.
For more information, visit: https://cosvetsparade.org/route.