This year’s Fourth of July parade was a chance for the town and its residents to turn their attention away from Town House troubles and focus on celebrating “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
On Wednesday, July 4, the Town of Marion was simply the community of Marion taking to the street to enjoy another village tradition as it marches on for another year.
Helping to keep that tradition alive is Donna Hemphill and the Marion Fourth of July Parade Committee members who have volunteered their time to take over the organization of the annual parade after the disbanding of VFW Post #2425 two years ago. Add in some additional dedicated volunteers and a few eager judges for the best float competition and you’ve got an event that stems from a dedication that is self-evident.
“The enthusiasm – it was a great feel all morning,” said Hemphill. “Tradition is definitely the biggest part for me. Keeping the tradition going.”
This was Hemphill’s second year as an organizer of the parade since the Town took the baton from the VFW.
“This year was excellent,” said Hemphill. “We had a bunch of new entries. … It was really great. The turnout was excellent.”
There were certainly plenty of memorable floats – the VW van covered in kites, the clowns, the long line of Tri-Town fire department trucks, “Which was really cool,” said Hemphill, grateful for the contribution to the parade from the surrounding towns.
But the most memorable ‘float’, not to mention the most adorable ever, was Kid’s Kove’s ATV gang of Marion’s patriotic progenies who ruled the road in red, white, and blue. The float won first place in the commercial category and ‘Best in Parade.’
“They got themselves a big old trophy. The kids were so happy,” said Hemphill, who gave a shout out to the four judges – Helen Hills, Tricia McKim, Mandy Givens, and Jody Dickerson.
For Hemphill, who also assists in organizing the annual Marion Town Party, volunteering with the parade, and even enduring “a few late nights” with the committee, is a task she rather enjoys.
“I grew up in a big city, so this small-town feel is much different than what I grew up in,” Hemphill said, “which is probably why I embrace it so much!”
By Jean Perry