Committee gears up for 2003 parade

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 14, 2003

It may be five months away, but the 2003 edition of the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade is already getting attention.

Committee members spent last night discussing areas that need to be tweaked before the floats and fire trucks roll through downtown Ironton in late May.

Committee members agreed that more publicity is needed to boost the number of veterans who come to ride on the specially designed float.

Email newsletter signup

"We want to let them know 'we appreciate you, here's a trailer you can ride on, come out and be in the parade,'" committee member Jim Adkins said.

Retired minister Jack Boggs said he would like to see a special float or tribute this year to the area's police officers, firefighters and emergency services

personnel, both those in active service and those retired from it.

"I feel they deserve recognition," Boggs said. "I'm proud of them. We talk about homeland security these days, well, we've always had homeland security. I'm proud of this town, and I'm proud of the men who serve it, and I consider them to be my brother." Boggs suggested some retired police and firefighters might also be willing to volunteer to work in the parade if they are encouraged to do so. This would assist the city's efforts to control traffic along the parade route during the parade and afterward as both participants and spectators leave town.

One of the problems addressed last night was that of street vendors, many from out of town, who descend on the parade route every year with their balloons and snow cones. Committee members complained that these people sometimes get in the parade route; those from out of town take their quickly-gotten income with them when they leave after the parade. One suggestion offered was to have street vendors register, and possibly even pay a fee for selling their goods.

"If they want to make money, let them pay us," committee member Ron Bundy said.

"If city council would pass legislation that would give the parade committee complete control of the parade route the day of the parade, that might be all that is needed," Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary said. "Then it's up to the discretion of the committee who gets in and who doesn't." Cleary said carefully worded legislation would

give the parade committee some idea of the groups that are selling items on parade day. Those groups could also get a list of rules and regulations when they apply for a permit.

Another problem area addressed was the lack of restroom facilities for the 35,000-50,000 people who line the parade route.

"There's restrooms at the courthouse, and one at Moulton Field," saidKen Massie, Lawrence County ARES/RACES (ham radio) president. "And some businesses have restrooms. But in some areas along the parade route there are none. People came last year and lined up outside the (ARES/RACES Emergency Services) motor home, some with kids, needing to use the bathroom. I think we might need some johnny-on-the-spots."

Mayor Bob Cleary suggested the portable potties might be put in alleys and other unobtrusive areas where they could be accessible but not in the way of the parade.

At the next meeting Feb. 10, committee members suggested that discussion focus on choosing a theme for the parade and finding both an honorary grand marshal and honorary division commanders.