The University of Arizona's Pride of Arizona marching band returns to the Tucson Rodeo Parade next Thursday after two years away.

"People here love the university and looked forward to seeing the Pride of Arizona," said Herb Wagner, spokesman for the 88th annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros parade.

The Pride of Arizona had marched right behind the grand marshal and the horseback color guard since the 1940s. That tradition continued until 2011.

Last fall, parade organizers met with the band at practice and talked about its long history with the parade. The musicians took a popular vote to return, he said.

The parade gets under way next Thursday at 9 a.m., featuring 118 entries, ranging from mounted sheriff's posses and stagecoaches to a dragon procession by the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will be the grand marshals.

If you go

• The Tucson Rodeo Parade, started in 1925, is known as the largest nonmotorized parade in the country. The event usually draws more than 150,000.

• When: 9 a.m. next Thursday, but grandstand entertainment starts at 8. Get there earlier to avoid road closures, which start at 7 a.m.

• Where: The parade route begins on Ajo Way at Fair Avenue

Grandstand seating, on Irvington Road, requires tickets that can be bought near the grandstands or in advance at The Rodeo Parade Office, 4823 S. Sixth Ave.

• More information: 294-1280. or