Three local communities will be celebrating the country’s Independence Day on Friday, as they have been doing annually for many years.
Shoals celebration to focus on fireworks, fellowship, fun
The host Shoals Ruritan Club will be focusing on past favorite activities this year at its annual Shoals community gathering for Independence Day, with plenty of food, fellowship and fireworks on hand for all.
The evening of activities will begin with the community’s traditional annual parade. Line-up will begin at 5:40 p.m. at Fairview United Methodist Church. There is no fee for participation and advanced registration is not required.
The parade will begin at 6 p.m., with participants waving to residents and distributing candy as the procession makes its way down Shoals Road to the Shoals Community Recreation Center. Upon arrival at the center, parade participants will join those in attendance for a variety of activities.
According to Ruritan club member and primary event organizer Kathy Kellam, a special patriotic recognition will be held to honor the memory of the late George Jones. A longtime resident of the Shoals community, Jones passed away in March at the age of 93. He was a World War II veteran, having served as a sergeant with the United States Marine Corp in Iceland and the South Pacific.
Described by Kellam as having been a “very active” member of the Shoals community, Jones had served as a charter member of both the Shoals Ruritan Club and the Pinnacle Volunteer Fire Department. He also had served on the board of the Shoals Recreation Center.
A commemorative plaque honoring Jones’ service will be presented to his son and daughter.
Club members will be offering hot dogs and cold drinks at a cost of 50 cents each, for as long as supplies last.
“We discount the price of these,” Kellam noted, “as a way of giving back to the community during this day.”
Tickets also will be sold throughout the evening for a 50/50 giveaway. Cost will be $1 per ticket or six for $5, with the drawing to be held at 8:30 p.m.
As has become a Shoals tradition, the evening will end with a large fireworks display at dusk. The display will again be overseen by Ricky Bowen.
“This year,” Kellam said, “we’ve decided to focus on fun and giving people more time to socialize with each other. And Ricky has promised that this year’s fireworks will be bigger and better than ever.”
Siloam Fourth to feature Marshall Brothers Band
The Siloam community will come together for a festive old-time celebration on Friday morning as residents continue a longstanding tradition of gathering for Independence Day on “The Square.”
Hosted by the Copeland Ruritan Club, the day will begin with the annual Fourth of July parade. The parade is open to everyone and all types of entries including floats, bicycles, classic cars and tractors. No registration is required, with entrants asked to be available for line-up at 9 a.m. at Hardy Brothers Trucking.
“We’re hoping to see a lot of participation in this year’s parade,” club representative Jerry Venable said. “And the more floats we have, the better.”
The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the procession making its way to The Square. Candy may be dispersed along the route.
Upon arrival, residents will be invited to enjoy an assortment of activities and entertainment for the entire family. Featured will be the music of local favorites, The Marshall Brothers Band.
Youngsters will be encouraged to try their hand at a variety of old-fashioned games.
A talent show will feature local entries competing for trophies and will be open to any entrants.
Trophies will also be awarded after the parade for the cleanest tractor and the dirtiest tractor, for the best car and the best float.
Concessions will feature hot dogs grilled by club members along with cold soft drinks. Continuing a long history of their involvement in the day, desserts will be offered by the Siloam Extension Homemakers.
Ararat Independence Day to offer family fun
The Ararat Volunteer Fire Department will be offering a morning of family fun in celebration of Independence Day, continuing what has become a popular holiday tradition in the community.
The day will begin with a parade, with line-up scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at Old Highway 52 and Longhill Road. The parade is open to all entries that can be “pushed, pulled or dragged” and floats are encouraged. No entry fee or advanced registration is required.
The parade will begin promptly at 9 a.m., making its way down Ararat Road to the fire station. Candy is encouraged and may be tossed to spectators along the route.
Upon arrival at the station, estimated to be around 10, an assortment of games, concessions and activities will be offered for the entire family.
Parade trophies will be awarded for the most patriotic yard, the most patriotic golf cart and the most patriotic float.
Members of the Ararat Masonic Lodge will be on hand with barbecue for sale while fire department personnel will be offering hot dogs and drinks. Homemade ice cream also will be available.
Live music will be offered throughout the morning as will raffles. In the popular annual “mayor’s election,” 3-year-old incumbent Lilla Key will take on all challengers.
A dunking booth and bounce house will be among the games in place for youngsters.
“We want to invite everybody to come out, enjoy themselves and help us celebrate the holiday,” Ararat VFD First Responders Capt. Joy Masten said.
“This is our 30th year of incorporation and service to this community,” added Fire Chief Wes Key. “Since I can remember, we’ve had a large celebration that involves our community and community organizations, giving everybody a chance to get together, socialize and meet their neighbors.
“Our doors here are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anything,” he continued, “and we’re an underutilized resource in this community. We encourage folks to come out and learn more about who we are and what we do.”