National holiday celebration starts with big parade

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shriners, TV personalities and Dune Buggy the clown are scheduled to parade west on Commerce Street from The Acres to Lewisburg's Recreation Center during the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce's Independence Day Weekend Celebration.

In addition to traditional festivities at the Rec Center, such as the beauty pageants, games and food, there's a candidates' forum on Saturday afternoon for every political office that's on the Aug. 5 election ballot. Voter registration ends Tuesday. Early voting starts July 15.

Grand marshals for the parade will be families of military servicemen and women from Marshall County who are currently serving in the on-going response to terrorist attacks nearly eight years ago, according to Chamber Executive Director Ritaanne Weaver.

A large float is being prepared for the families, Weaver said.

"Jamie Bone is our event coordinator for the parade," she said. "He's done a wonderful job. The parade gathers in front of the Goodwill Business Solutions office."

TV personalities participating in the parade include Scott Couch of WZTV Fox 17, Dawn Davenport of WKRN Channel 2 and Lisa Spencer of News Channel 4.

"And then we have Snow Bird," Weaver said of the bigger than life-sized penguin manned by an unidentified Channel 4 staffer. "I think he will be hot in that costume, but we will have an air conditioned room for him to change.

"There's also an Indian re-enactment group that will be telling stories in the park after the parade," Weaver said. "Dune Buggy the clown will be riding his dune buggy in the parade, and one of our eldest citizens, Edwin Scott, will be driving his tractor with some kids in a wagon in the back."

Parade entrants should be at The Oaks shopping center by 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Many are pre-registered.

At the Rec Center, the baby contest starts at 10 a.m. followed by Music in the Park on that stage, and then the political forum will be at 3 p.m., Weaver said.

A fee of $1 will be charged to get into the park, she said.

"There is a Kids Play Zone that's free, including a petting zoo and bouncers provided by the Junior Auxiliary," Weaver said.

"Dune Buggy the clown will have tractor pulls on pedal tractors for ages 3-12 and they will be pulling weighted sleds," she said. "That is the only activity that will cost. It's $2 and every kid will get a prize. Times for that are 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m."

An old-time cakewalk is at 1 p.m.

Money in the Haystack will be held for children who dig in the straw for play money that's redeemed at the Chamber booth for real money.

A Tug of War will be at 2:30 p.m. followed by a watermelon-eating contest at 3 p.m., which is when candidates start speaking.

"After the politicians we will have, at 6 p.m., the announcement of our Citizen of the Year and then our Little Miss and Mister contests followed at 7 p.m. by the Miss Marshall County Pageant.

"There will not be fireworks following the pageant this year due to the economy," Weaver announced in an e-mail this week. She said the committee had been unable to find sponsors for the fireworks, but was still hoping that anyone who had extra fireworks might donate them to the Chamber.

"Tickets will by $1 at the gate until 5 p.m. and then it goes to $5 for adults and $3 for students, but they can come in this week and get it for a dollar off," Weaver said, noting tickets are on sale at the Chamber office.

"We are getting the tickets printed up now," she said Tuesday. "Pre-sales will help us get an idea on the size of the crowd and then there's the bottom line of saving money on the ticket and time." Those who buy early "can rush right on through if they have a ticket."

The Marshall County Citizen of the Year will be announced at the Chamber Breakfast on Thursday. To get a good seat, Weaver suggests arriving at 7:15 a.m. Breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. Attendance is anticipated at about 170 including the 16 girls in the pageant, 13 little girls and three boys.