Photo by Curt Yeomans
Jonesboro Masonic Lodge officials address the Jonesboro City Council on Monday, to update town leaders about plans for the lodge’s annual Fourth of July Parade. They said they are desperately in need of musical groups to sign up for the event.
Imagine, if you will, that life in Clayton County is a Broadway musical.
Now, imagine Jonesboro’s annual Fourth of July Parade is in danger of not having a big musical production for everyone to sing and dance to. You may not have to try to hard to imagine that, however, because the reality is parade organizers are having trouble finding musical groups, particularly marching bands, to perform in the parade.
Someone needs to “Strike Up The Band” for the annual patriotic celebration, “Before The Parade Passes By,” in the words of the Gershwin brothers, and the authors of the musical “Hello Dolly,” respectively.
“We have gone to the [county] Board of Education, but they have not given me an answer” about getting at least one high school marching band in the parade, said Jeff Salter, the chaplain of the Jonesboro Masonic Lodge, which organizes the parade. “They were going to try to give me a partial band, or at least a drumline.”
Officials from the Jonesboro Masonic Lodge said they have not yet gotten many entries for the parade, so Salter said the lodge is going to try to get the word out among the public, to let local organizations know they can sign up to have a float in the event. The event is being held in Jonesboro, on July 4, beginning at 10 a.m., at the Jonesboro Post Office.
Salter said he could still get several non-musical entries in the parade, however. It is an election year, he explained, and several candidates for local public offices will likely enter themselves in the parade to get some visibility among local voters.
Still, that does not change the musical issue, which Salter said has been a more common issue for the parade than one might think.
“Anything would be great, because we’ve never had a band in a parade that we’ve had, that I can remember,” he said. “If we could get one [a marching band], that would be great.”
Anyone interested in signing up to be in the parade can call Salter at (770) 846-4527, Steve Hendry at (770) 946-8919, or (678) 898-0096.
One issue the parade will not likely face, though, is paying a fee to the City of Jonesboro to hold the parade.
That is because the Jonesboro City Council voted unanimously Monday, to permanently exempt the Fourth of July Parade, and another popular parade, the Elijah Masonic Lodge No. 309/Electra Special No. 109 Eastern Star’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Parade from paying parade fees.
The city council already had a policy of waiving the fees for the parades, but city officials have not been able to find any record of the city council voting permanently exempting the parades from those fees. Therefore, council members have had to vote every year to re-grant the exemptions.
In an effort to make it official, and prevent this cycle from repeating, however, Council Member Joe Compton made a motion Monday to put the exemptions in writing so they do not have to continue voting every year on the issue.
“I thought that we had done it [vote for permanent exemptions] before, but we couldn’t find it any old meeting minutes at City Hall, so I just wanted to clarify it” for the future, Compton said.
Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day added: “They are both really strong community events, and we want to continue having them in our city.”