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July 4 parade goes across public square

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beautiful people, llamas, mule-drawn wagons, at least one boat, motorcycles, TV personalities, and relatives of American heroes are part of the Fourth of July celebration here.

And, contrary to the normal parade route, the Independence Day Parade on Monday in Lewisburg will march east to west on Commerce Street without going around the Marshall County Courthouse, according to the police chief.

Chief Chuck Forbis was asked on Thursday morning whether the parade, starting at 9 a.m. in The Acres Shopping Center parking lot, would go up hill on Commerce Street instead of around the Courthouse, thereby going backwards against the normal flow of traffic.

Without pausing, Forbis replied, with dry wit, that, "Yes, actually, and when they get to the square, they will do an about face and walk backwards up the hill..."

Then, the chief clarified: "They are going to go straight across the square, as opposed to going around the square. They did contact us and sought our approval (to march east to west on Commerce Street while on the square) and for the limited time that it will take, we felt it was alright."

The square will be blocked off during the parade time.

Thursday morning, Parade Chairman Jamie Bone reported that honorary grand marshals for the parade will include relatives of all three of Marshall County's most recent fallen heroes. Those being: Army Staff Sgt. Todd E. Nunes, who died May 2, 2004; Army Sgt. David M. Hierholzer who died July 24, 2006; and Marine Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski, who died March 28, 2007.

Previously announced grand marshals of the Fourth of July Parade are Crissie Carpenter and her son Landon of Columbia. She is the widow and Landon is the infant son of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Carpenter who was shot and killed in February during combat in Afghanistan. Crissie gave birth to their son less than a month after Lance Cpl. Carpenter was killed. He was scheduled to return home in the spring.

"The Patriot Guard will be escorting them," Bone said. "They're the ones who typically attend service men's funerals."

Meanwhile, parade organizers are still looking for volunteers to be Vince and Larry, the crash dummies, and Ollie the Otter the spokesperson for child safety seats in cars, Bone said.

The parade will make a left turn toward the Lewisburg Recreation Center where, Bone noted, the annual baby contest will be held. Parade vehicles, animals and wagons will march through the Rec Center's parking lot and disperse at Preston Hopkins Field.

"The Middle Tennessee Mule Skinners Association will have mules pulling wagons," Bone continued and, among several veterans groups represented in the parade, "We'll have Vets with 'Vettes, a veterans group of Huntsville, Ala. veterans who own Chevrolet Corvettes."

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed on Thursday morning that it would have servicemen bringing a boat and the U.S. Marines will send a representative or two.

The marines will serve as an honor guard for Lance Cpl. Carpenter's family.

The Manchester Gold Star Post 78 American Legion will be riding motorcycles.

Lewisburg-based posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion are participating.

"They're always faithful," Bone said.

"We'll also have 13 cars from the Nashville Miata Club outfitted with stadium radios so they can put a tape in one vehicle and each of their car radios picks it up so they can play patriotic music all at the same time.

Marshall County residents with their own special cars will be bringing them to the parade.

And among the many beautiful women at the parade, Bone lists: Miss Tennessee Rodeo Ty Fitzgerald, Miss Teen Tennessee Rodeo Sydney Caen, Miss Tennessee Teen USA Kaitlin White, and Miss Tennessee International Bobbie Marie Gregg.

Country singer Bridgette Tatum is participating. She's known for "Hillbilly Rock Star," "I Like My Cowboys Dirty," and she wrote "She's Country."

One of the touring bicycle clubs that competed on a difficult road course near the Berlin Fire Hall, SVMIC Group, will be represented in the parade.

"I'm told that Goats Music & More will have a float and I'm still waiting on the Shriners' Alhambra of Chattanooga" to report whether they will have clowns in the parade, Bone said.

"We're going to have llamas," he continued. "The Tennessee Llama Association will be represented."

The Rawdon Spears SCV Camp has advised Bone that it will participate "with individuals dressed in period clothing," Bone said.

"We'll have antique tractors and antique cars," Bone said. "And it's still not too late to join the parade. Just give me a call or show up at 8 a.m. Monday."

Bone's office number is 359-4243.

Bone is parade chairman for his second year in a row.

There used to be a July Fourth Parade "years ago and then there was a period of time when there was none," he said. "This is the third year of the parade in recent years."

TV personalities participating include: WSMV's Snowbird and Rudy Kalis, Barak Shapiro of Fox 17, WKRN's Joe Dubin and Ron Howes of WTVF.