First Posted: 6/21/2009
Mount Airy found itself without an Independence Day parade in 2008, but organizers are hoping to see it return with a bang this year.
Applications for floats, groups and other Fourth of July parade entries are now being accepted by the Downtown Business Association, the events sponsor. Friday is the entry deadline.
The theme for the July 4 event is Hometown USA, which is focusing on the spirit of patriotism in small-town America which Mount Airy represents, according to Twyla Sickmiller, who is chairing a parade committee for the downtown association.
I think Mount Airy is probably one of the best little hometowns you could live in, Sickmiller added of the intent for the parade to be a celebration of the community as well as the nations founding in 1776.
Paul Hodges, coordinator for the Downtown Business Association, is hoping to see much red, white and blue along Main Street to symbolize the patriotic aspects of the holiday.
Wed like to have a gala celebration of our countrys independence, Hodges said, pointing to the significance of the nations founding and all that has transpired in the nearly 240 years since.
Sickmiller said that an Independence Day parade has been held each July in Mount Airy for years, although none took place in 2008 due to organizational problems.
The procession is scheduled to roll down Main Street at 9:45 a.m. on July 4, with participants allowed to enter Veterans Memorial Park at 7:30 to make final adjustments on their entries. Floats and riders are required to be in position by 9:30 a.m.
Groups, businesses, bands and vehicles with dignitaries are eligible to participate in the parade. There is still plenty of room in several categories, including childrens decorated bicycles, tractors and wagons; four-wheelers, mini-bikes and go-karts; bands, choral groups, scouting organizations, school groups, athletes and cheerleaders; pageant winners; politicians and elected officials; and more.
Twenty-six children already had registered for the bicycle category as of the end of last week, according to Sickmiller.
Participating businesses will be charged an entry fee of $50 to $100, depending on their size, but there is no cost for entries that involve non-profit organizations, groups or individuals.
No sirens or horns will be allowed before, during or after the parade, organizers say.
Entry forms are available at B&L Custom Jewelers, 308 Bistro and Mayberry Consignments & Souvenirs, all located on Main Street. Completed applications should be dropped off at any of those businesses or mailed, along with a check if applicable, to Downtown Business Association, P.O. Box 535, Mount Airy, NC 27030.
Most of the relevant entry details can be found on the forms, but additional information is available from the association at 786-4511.
Other Activities Planned
The parade wont be the only attraction downtown on the Fourth of July, which this year falls on a Saturday.
A special program featuring a Benjamin Franklin impersonator is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. in the courtyard of Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. The Celebrate Our Freedom program will include patriotic music, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and free lemonade for everyone.
Sickmiller said despite the holiday, most downtown businesses will be open, allowing out-of-town guests and other parade-goers to experience the flavor of the shopping district. Some will close, but I think most of them will be open in the morning until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, she said.
Meanwhile, the 208th Army Band will perform patriotic music beginning at 1 p.m. at Blackmon Amphitheatre. The concert is free.
We just want anyone and everyone to come and enjoy the festivities of the day, Sickmiller said.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.