• 46°

Parade offers opportunity to promote, inform

Churches, groups find moving billboards in parade effective publicity tool

The theme this year for the Ironton Memorial Day Parade was “For God and Country” and each entry was required to display the theme.

But many entries, while proudly displaying that theme, used the parade to impart other information or ideas, or announce upcoming events.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of Huntington, W.Va., had a float with a replica of the corps’ castle insignia and inside it a doggie that waved to the crowd. A sign read, “Always wear your life jacket.”

St. Mary’s Medical Center used the parade as an opportunity to remind Lawrence Countians its new Ironton medical complex will open in July.

Team Toni, a Tri-State group of supporters marched in honor of the late Toni Black, who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. They offered fliers explaining who Black was and about the non-profit organization established in her name to help others fighting cancer.

Many floats gave equal attention to both God and Country. Oakland Chapel’s float bore the names of two veterans, Harley Van Meter and Lou Coburn.

It also had a large well with a young woman dressed in a Biblical era robe. A huge sign bore the Bible Scripture from the Gospel of John in which Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that the water he gives is living water. The church handed out bottles of ice-cold water along the parade route to give their point special and practical emphasis.

“We’re trying to be part of the community and what’s going on and we’re explaining what life is really all about,” the Rev. Lenny Campbell, pastor of Oakland Chapel, explained. His float also promoted two upcoming mission trips organized by Jeremiah 38 Ministries that members of his church will participate in.

Several churches, including Campbell, Ohio Furnace and First Tabernacle Church, either passed out information about their upcoming Vacation Bible School or announced it on their floats. South Point Church of the Nazarene promoted its summer soccer club.

One 4-H club was to-the-point about its thoughts on the theme: “We are For God and Country,” the Lawrence County Copperheads sign read. “Are you?”