ELIZABETHTON — Planning has begun on the annual Fourth of July Parade in downtown Elizabethton. The parade committee met Tuesday morning at Ledford’s Upholstery to begin the work under the direction of City Councilman Bob Cable.
Cable was responsible for bringing the parade back to downtown after an absence of several decades. He has not been a part of the parade’s organization since 2008, but he is committed to returning the parade to the way it was when he directed it.
Cable has already made requests for all of the city and county school bands to participate. He has also requested several area celebrities and dignitaries to participate.
He is working with Professor Robin Hardin of the University of Tennessee to recruit new football coach Butch Jones to be the grand marshal of the parade. He has also lined up area television personality Josh Smith to take the second-highest place of honor in the annual parade — riding down East Elk Avenue in a mobile bath tub filled with cold water.
As always, there will be a patriotic performance at the Veterans War Memorial. This year, downtown restaurateur and soloist John Williams will sing a medley of patriotic songs and trumpeter David Batchelder will perform “Taps.”
The Shriners Oriental Band is also expected to participate in the parade.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. As usual, several free events for children and families will be in place to entertain the early arriving crowd during the morning. Star’s Big Top Amusements will offer free rides, inflatables and other amusements. Smoky Mountain Wrestling will set up an outdoor ring at the corner of Armed Forces Drive and East E Street to provide free bouts, and entertainers Bill Armstrong Band and Marlow Tackett will perform for free.
The plans are also to provide the crowd with free watermelon and bottles of cold water during the expected hot day.
Cable also plans a flyover of the parade route.
The town will be decked out in red, white and blue, with ribbons and bunting and other decorations.
With so many plans and only a few months to go, the members of the committee received their marching orders of things to get done before the next meeting in April.