Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Masonic Lodge No. 87, in Jonesboro, will be "the place to be" on Saturday, to get ready for the Fourth of July, according to the lodge's chaplain.
For the 47th year, the Masonic Lodge will hold its annual Fourth of July Parade and Barbecue fund-raiser on Saturday. The festivities begin with the parade at 10 a.m., and the barbecue will last from 11 a.m., to 6 p.m., at the lodge, at 142 North McDonough Street in Jonesboro, according to lodge Chaplain Steve Hendry, who is coordinating the event.
Hendry said 3,000 pounds of barbecue pork, and 500 gallons of Brunswick stew will be cooked for the barbecue portion of the activities.
"That could maybe feed somewhere around 1,000 people," the Masonic Lodge chaplain said. "If you're looking for some really good barbecue on Saturday, we'll be the place to be."
Saturday's events could lead to a brief period of traffic headaches for local drivers. While the parade is underway, all streets that cross the route will be blocked off by Jonesboro police, according to Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox.
Hendry said the parade route will begin at Rum Creek Park, at 1303 Government Circle, in Jonesboro, and turn left onto McDonough Street. The parade will travel south on McDonough Street until it reaches the Clayton County Historic Courthouse, at the corner of McDonough Street and Mill Street.
Hendry said recently that the parade's lineup was still being formalized, but in past years, it's lineup typically included a Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services Department fire truck, Clayton County and Jonesboro police and sheriff's cars, local boy scouts, members of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, vintage cars and (in election years) political candidates.
"Some of the old fellows riding in the parade will throw candy to people in the crowd," Hendry said. "It's just a fun time for everyone really, and that's what it's meant to be."
Maddox said the parade is a good opportunity for residents to come together for fun. "It brings people together, and gives them something to do," he said.
But, while the parade may be the eye-catching event, it will be the barbecue that gives the day's lineup its status as a fund-raiser.
Proceeds from the barbecue portion of Saturday's events will be donated to the Masonic Home of Georgia, a Macon-based children's home run by the Grand Masonic Lodge of Georgia, which helps at-risk youths get an education, according to Hendry. "It's our major fund-raiser of the year," he said.
The 106-year-old Masonic Home of Georgia has served more than 2,100 youths since its founding, according to the Masonic Home of Georgia's web site, www.masonichomeofgeorgia.com/.
A barbecue plate consisting of barbecue, a piece of bread, a pickle, a bag of chips and a serving of Brunswick stew will cost $6, and the lodge usually comes close to selling all of its food at the event, according to Hendry.
"We go through a lot of barbecue," he said.