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Sunday, March 22, 2009

THEIRISH DAY 2009: Part Two

From carnival day2009

IRISH PARADE GOES GREEN
By TERESA SETTLE NORRIS
Tennessee Express News Writer

* If you see Houston County Chamber member Diane Lynch this week, leave her alone. For the past who-knows-how-many-years, Lynch has been in charge of the Irish Parade Line-Up, and this year’s parade surely had its challenges. Irish Hats off to her for this year, especially!
* Many residents said this year’s 47th annual Irish Parade was the longest parade they had ever seen. Lasting close to two hours, it definitely called for a comfy lounge chair for at least brief intervals that occurred during the parade!
* If you missed it, Mike Davis of Channel 12 and erintennessee.com (the Wells Creek Basin Network) live streamed the parade for the second year in a row.
* The parade started as usual with City of Erin Police Chief Darryl Allison and Erin Mayor Cecil Baggett leading the pack.
Next was St. Patrick.
* St. Patrick, a.k.a. Ken Wallace, minister at Erin Methodist Church, is in his second year in the St. Patrick outfit.
* It’s great fun,” he said as he walked by, waving to the crowds. “God bless.”
* Also working the crowds again this year was Leprechaun Patty O’Blarneystone. (Read much more about him in Irish Day 2009: Part Five!)
* Next, the Navy band got a rousing applause from the crowds as they played a patriotic medley of music.
* This year’s Parade Grand Marshall was particularly popular with the kids (and many teachers, too). That’s because it was Channel Four’s SNOW BIRD!!!
* Riding in the back of a truck sponsored by Rye’s Body Shop, and driven by Shane Biggs, with his daughter Jaimey, a seventh grader at Houston County Middle School, tossing candy to the crowds, Snow Bird waved, wiggled, and blew kisses to everyone.
* All along the parade route, school kids squealed with delight, “It’s snow bird!” Some even hollered for snow, as students in Houston County are heading back this week to school after a two-week spring break.
* Following the grand marshall was this year’s Lord High Mayor.
* Ray Elliott, who usually works very hard with the Houston County Rec Club each year, often pulling a float with his truck and helping out with the carnival through the week-long Irish festivities, has definitely earned his Kelly green blazer as the 2009 Lord High Mayor.
* Riding along the parade route, Elliott said, “Everything is going great. It’s a great day.”
* Among the COUNTLESS beauty pageant winners who seemed to fly by this year is such a blur that you couldn’t read their name, much less what runner-up or age-group they were in, was this year’s Miss Houston County 2009, Brittney Clark.
* All of the float participants worked with a simple, environmentally-friend (but somewhat boring!) theme, “Got Green?”
* This meant that most of the floats had “green” (i.e., RECYCLING) ideas like saving cans and newspapers.
* Houston County Mayor George E. Clark seemed to enjoy the parade as well.
* “It’s a beautiful day,” he said as he rode by. “We’ve got a good crowd, and everybody’s enjoying themselves.”
* State Representative John C. Tidwell, a faithful parade attendee over the years, drove his usual antique Ford truck again this year.
* In the emergency response vehicles, the City of Erin showed off many of their fire trucks and the Houston County Emergency Management Agency pulled a rescue boat with an ATV.
* It was also a delight to see Miss Houston County 1939…. That’s right… 1939 (No, this is not a typo. Miss Houston County from 70 years ago was in the parade!)
* Betty Ruth Lewis Summers, age 87, of Tennessee Ridge, looked as beautiful and regal as ever as she delighted the crowds with her presence.
* The Tennessee Scots bagpipe band is also a big hit, and Gayle Carlaw told me that the band includes five pipers, three drummers, and three parade leads. Her husband Keith was one of the pipers. Erin residents have always had special affection from the group, even after Daniel Martin’s son stopped playing with them!
* Cumberland City Mayor Whitey Vaughn and other dedicated residents rode on a float to advertise this year’s “Lighting Up the Cumberland” celebration, which will actually be on Saturday, July 4, this year. (Stop reading long enough to mark your calendar; you know it will be worth it!)
* And no Irish parade would be complete without Houston County’s own Irish marching band, under the direction of Matt Whitt.
* The band sounded particularly spirited, and they looked flashy with a banner in front with a large shamrock on the right side, with the words, “Houston County High School: The Pride of the Emerald Isle, Erin, Tennessee.”
* It was also nice to see HCHS mascot Leprechaun working the parade route as well.
* Every year it’s also historically significant to see Tennessee Ridge resident Drew Scholes and the 50th Tennesseee Civil War Reenactors.
* When he isn’t dressed as a Civil War soldier, Scholes, substitute teaches and works part-time for Fort Donelson Relics.
* Neighboring McEwen High School Band, somewhat smaller than the HCHS band, but just as Irish, marched this year in the parade under the direction of Mike Lampley.
* By the time the Shriners made it downtown, but the crowds had clearly pushed passed the white lines, and everyone—adults and kids—were pretty much standing in the roadways. This made it too dangerous for the Shriners to safely perform many of their motorcycle, clown, or go-cart stunts.
* It has been a long-time tradition to have the Al Menah Shriners entertain the crowds on Irish Day. Many of their vehicles sported sayings like, “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”
* Tractors of all types followed the Shriners, including a McCormick-Deering Farmall Cub, a couple of John Deere tractors, and an Allis Chambers D17.
* There were also lots of car clubs, including the Music City Miata Club out of Nashville.
* A float advertised the Houston County Fair for this year, so mark your calendar for Sept. 24-26.
* Other civic groups participated, including the Houston County Leadership, the Houston County Lions Club, and Stewart-Houston Right to Life.
* Perigo’s Body Shop advertised an Erin Mud Bog for April 11.
* Several churches participated in the parade, including Bible Baptist Church, Erin Church of God of Prophecy, and Tennessee Ridge Baptist Church.
* First Assembly of God of Erin even advertised that they were forming a Christian Academy. For more information on that, call 289-4514.
* Area businesses entered floats, too. Isabella Dennis, a sixth grader, and Jacob Bryant, an eighth grade, both students at Houston County Middle School, waved from a Sudden Service float.
* The Beaver Patrol with WVVR Country 100.3 FM, Palmyra Health Care, Patient’s Choice Medical Clinic of Erin, and Schmidt Lumber Company were other businesses in on the parade.
* As far as horses, there were a few members of the Tennessee Mounted Patrol and a cute couple in a one-horse carriage.
* Toward the end of the parade, Jay Perdue, who purchased the old Southern Gage building, rode one of his really neat ExerTrike Tri-Hybrid bicycles with a special wind shield. For more info on his inventions, log on to Perdue Acoustics.com or Lamberth Restorations.com
* With the parade lasting so long, some people gave up on the end and crossed the road in front of some of the last parade entries before the actual end of the parade.
* Short of having someone hold up a “The End” sign or maybe placing the Leprechaun last like Santa Claus, people just had to figure out when it was over, since the end of the parade seemed a little unclear.
* At first glance, the end of the parade seemed to be emergency vehicles and flashing lights, but they were just holding back a line of traffic trying to get through town shortly after 1 p.m.
* The parade was really just the beginning, though. There was so much more to this year’s IRISH DAY in Houston County. Stay tuned for MUCH MORE coverage of the 47th annual Irish Celebration, including:
* PART THREE: DUBLIN VISITORS COME TO STAY
* PART FOUR: LOCAL BUSINESSES… OLD AND NEW
* PART FIVE: PATTY O’BLARNEYSTONE, ST. PATRICK
* PART SIX: CARNIVAL, OTHER FUN
* PART SEVEN: MUSIC AND FOOD
* PART EIGHT: WHAT WENT WRONG STORY
PARADE PHOTOS

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