Sideline vendors add to atmosphere

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, May 26, 2009

For Hannah Lynd, her trip to the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Monday was complete when she spied — and got — her very own plastic trumpet she could blow as the procession passed by.

She might have gotten a bottle of bubbles to blow, or an inflated giant Crayola crayon or a fuzzy floppy hat. Those were on sale, too, along with food and drink and even a bluegrass tune.

For some, a trip to the parade is partly an expression of patriotism and partly a business venture.

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The crowd can be a hungry one, too, and there probably was never a kid invented who didn’t like balloons.

Church of the Harvest in South Point had a couple of folding tables set up in the Rent-To-Own parking lot on Third Street long before the 10 a.m. parade start. Ladies from the church have come to the parade with their hot dogs and nachos for the past five years. The money raised on parade day sales goes to the church’s building fund.

“We’ve been in the church five years and we’re wanting to pay it off,” Carolyn Thompson explained.

Down the street, Campbell Chapel had set up shop in front of an empty store. Just before the parade started a small line had formed in front of the tables bearing hot dogs and baked goods. The proceeds are used in part to send church kids to summer camp. If the hot dogs were popular, they were also part of a carefully guarded church secret. Deacon Larry Scott watched the ladies dish up the food and mused, “They won’t tell their (sauce) recipe.”

Two mobile vendor booths were set up on a empty parking lot near Madison Street, offering caramel apples, funnel cakes and cotton candy.

Less than a block away, Jennifer Sweeney opened her van door to display a selection of snow cones and ice cream treats. McSweeney said she was inspired by a friend to set up this one-day shop.

“He used to do this when he was younger; I call it Mammaw’s Sweet Things Machine. We ain’t making no killing but we are having fun.”

On the Rite Air parking lot, a small stand bearing the words “Lakyn’s Lemonade” offered something cool and wet for the hot and thirsty.

Coal Grove native Scott Miller and his son, Elijah, 8, had something completely different to sell: music. With a tiny guitar and fiddle, the father/son duo would stop along the parade route and play a tune. Charmed bystanders would throw money into the guitar case afterward. The Millers live in Alabama now. They’ve played at other events in other towns but this was their first time playing Ironton on parade day.

Joe Cabrera came from Columbus with J&J Concessions to sell snow cones and cotton candy and other goodies. On Memorial Day in Ironton, there is more than a fair bet someone will be hungry, thirsty or have an aching desire for a knick knack or two. J&J Concessions is there to meet the need.

“There’s always a good turnout,” Cabrera said.