Thursday, June 28, 2012
Rockwall News keeps Fourth of July parade tradition going
The parade will likely get bigger in coming years.
A brand new Fourth of July Parade tradition will begin in Rockwall this year on July 4 at 11 a.m. near the Old Downtown Courthouse Square, when a new area-wide parade will be presented by a new official host, TheRockwallNews.com, co-sponsored by The City of Rockwall, Community Bank, Randall Noe Auto Group of Terrell, and Coldwell Banker Realtor Peg Pannell Smith.
According to J.J. Smith, owner and publisher of the fast-growing headline news website, the new parade is being organized because the host of Rockwall’s main Independence Day Parade for the past 11 years, the Old Town Neighborhood Association, recently discontinued their event. The parade has attracted tens of thousands of parade-watchers over the years.
Beginning next year, the new parade will become much larger than just a neighborhood event and will be held at a different location – perhaps at the RISD football stadium where there is more parking, Smith said. He said he promises to make it even “bigger and better,” with the help of the city of Rockwall and the community.
“In the future it will become bigger and better than ever – at least as big as the Rockwall Christmas Parade,” he said. “City officials, Rockwall police, and others have been extremely helpful to us in starting this new tradition.”
“Randall Noe has been especially helpful for donating seven convertibles from his Randall Noe Auto Dealership in Terrell for elected officials to ride in, including U.S. Congressman Ralph Hall, State Sen. Bob Deuell, Rockwall Mayor David Sweet, and Rockwall City Council members.”
This year, however, the parade will remain where it has been for the past several years since there has been so little time to organize a new parade. Smith said he just learned about Old Town discontinuing their parade in late May. He quickly submitted a parade permit to preserve the tradition and, after planning it with city officials and police, he received the parade permit June 20.
According to Smith, the 2012 parade will follow the same route as last year, but a larger variety of decorated floats, cars, trucks, golf carts, 4-wheelers, animals and more are expected since all organizations, sports teams, school groups, families, and individuals are now free to enter. They previously needed to pay a $15 entry fee. Businesses need only pay $100 to promote their products/services to the thousands of people expected to attend.
The parade will start at the intersection of S. Clark Street and Kaufman Street, head south two blocks, turn right, and travel 6 to 7 blocks west on Washington Street and then turn right and travel north one block to the Courthouse Square. Parade participants should line up at 10:30 am on Kaufman Street, between S. Clark Street and Highway 66/Fannin Street.
Following the parade, area restaurants and vendors will provide food and drinks from locations around the courthouse. Entertainment, a bounce house, and children’s face-painting are also planned. Rockwall’s El Cayote Rojo Tex-Mex restaurant owner Norma Rocha Valles and Rockwall’s Got Talent winner Amber Carrington have agreed to sing patriotic songs. Other entertainers are being invited to perform.
The parade emcee and announcer will be the “Voice of Rockwall,” Gary Freedman, a former Houston radio DJ and now insurance company executive, who also serves as an auctioneer to help raise money for many area charities. He will use his microphone to interview guests as the parade passes.
Committed to appear in this year’s parade, thus far, are:
The 2012 & 2011 Back-to-Back State Champion Girls Gymnastics Team from Rockwall High School
Fox 4-TV News Anchor Heather Hays and family (former Rockwall residents)
Local elected officials and candidates from Rockwall, Fate, Royse City, Rowlett, and, McClendon-Chisholm
Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office
The Rockwall County Sheriff’s Posse, mounted on horseback
Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard
Boy Scout & Cub Scout troops
Boys & Girls Club of Rockwall County
Celebration Station of Mesquite
Cowgirl Congress Rodeo Drill Team
The Red Hat Ladies of Rockwall
Horizon Auto Center
Rockwall Healthy Solutions Weight Loss Center
Pegasus News Content partner - TheRockwallNews.com
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