Residents, business operators asked to #8216;fancy up#8217; for parade

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

In less than two weeks, the streets of Ironton will swell from its usual 12,000-plus population to 20,000 or even more when the 138th annual Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade begins.

Parade Grand Marshal Lou Pyles said this year’s lineup will likely be longer than usual. Pyles said while she did not know how many more entries there will be this year as compared with previous years, she estimated this year’s lineup will include several hundred entries amounting to as many as 5,000 people actually walking the parade route.

“We have a lot of entries we haven’t had before,” Pyles said. Some of the people who have contacted me have said they want to be a part of the nation’s oldest continuous Memorial Day Parade. And it seems like we have a lot more veterans participating. We do have some new entries and I’m excited about that.”

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With the clock ticking, residents and business owners are asked to decorate their homes and stores with patriotic regalia in advance of the parade. Ironton Mayor John Elam said visitors coming this weekend with the Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament and the influx of people will continue through the end of the month. This is a good opportunity for Ironton to roll out a colorful welcome mat.

“The Ironton - Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade is recognized as the nation’s Memorial Day Parade,” Elam said. “With the volunteer cleanup effort, that generally starts the month of May on a positive note and it continues with Gus Macker and follows up with the parade and Charity Fair. This really gives Ironton an opportunity to put its best foot forward and allows the city to give a good first impression. I’m excited. This is a wonderful time of the year. School is out by then and Memorial Day really kicks off summertime in the City of Ironton.”

Parade officials are also asking people to make plans now to take alternate routes out of the city after the parade and avoid using the Park Avenue/ U.S. 52 interchange, as traffic is often congested in that area immediately after the parade.

The parade will be 10 a.m. Monday, May 29. In addition to Pyles, parade committee member Bill Ellis will serve as parade commander. This year’s Honorary Grand Marshal will be Ironton native and World War II veteran Donald Hacker, who served as a medic in the U.S. Army on the European front.

The parade route begins at Sixth and Center streets, turns onto Third Street and continues southward to Quincy Street. After a right turn on Quincy, the parade will continue to Sixth Street and back to Center Street.

In addition to the parade, the area will observe Memorial Day with an annual Navy Night service at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25 at the Center Street boat landing and at the annual Woodland Cemetery Service at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 28.

Also, the Tri-State Artistic Friends will have a Memorial Weekend Art Exhibit at the Ironton City Center May 26-29. The exhibit is a venue for local talent.

This is the second year for the art show. Throughout Memorial Day weekend, the Ironton Catholic Community will host its annual Charity Fair at St. Joseph High School.

From Friday to Sunday on Memorial Day Weekend, Operation: Kids will have its Kings of the Court basketball tournament at the Ninth Street Playground.

On Saturday, the Lawrence County Historical Museum will host its annual Camp Ironton exhibit on the museum lawn. The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 51 will have its annual remembrance ceremony at 12 noon Wednesday, May 24 at the Lawrence County Courthouse lawn.

Again this year, activities on Memorial Day will begin with the annual Veterans Memorial Day 5-K Road Race. Approximately 100 people are expected to take part in the event that begins and ends at the Liebert Corp. parking lot.