Greenville Life Spring 2020 - Page 33

The Park Street July 4 Parade occasionally attracts some unusual entries, including the one from 3M Farms in 2015. G reenville enjoys a good July 4 parade and for many years the city’s residents were fortunate enough to be able to watch and participate in two neighborhood events. The largest of the two, the Park Street July 4 Parade, originated when Ben Shinn, the former pastor of the Kavanugh United Methodist Church, dreamt up the event one evening while walking his dog. The parade is scheduled to return this summer. “It was a community endeavor that everyone still enjoys,” Shinn said. A smaller but no less patriotic event, the Buena Vista/ Chapman Fourth of July Parade, started earlier, but hasn’t been conducted for the past few years. The Park Street Fourth of July Parade has been held since 1997 and follows the same path each year. Staging starts at the east end of Park Street at 7th Street at the turn-around. The parade itself includes hundreds of antique and classic cars, the Greenville High School Lion Pride Band, motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles, jeeps, honor guards, marching groups and equestrian entries, many featuring red, white and blue decorations. The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Veterans of Foreign Wars are always featured in the parade, along with the Greenville Fire-Rescue Department and local law enforcement. During election years, it is not unusual to see many of the entries carrying politicians running for office. The Park Street Baptist Church hosts an early morning pancake breakfast and at the conclusion of each parade the Kavanaugh United Methodist Church presents the annual Patriotic Program, followed by a free watermelon picnic for all. The Park Street Historical Association always welcomes church groups, Scout troops and community service organizations to enter a float was it hosts the parade each year. Shinn recalled the first parade came about in late 1996, after he met with the group about the plans for that year’s “Christmas On Park Street” events. Shinn he had come up with the idea one night as he walked his Basset Hound, Polly, along the roadway. “Richard Kearns would usually walk his dog with me on these evening walks,” Shinn said. “I envisioned it as a gift to the community. I thought the community needed some coming together and what better way than with a parade, singing songs everyone loves to sing, and by sharing in community by eating free watermelon with your neighbors.” Shinn wrote about what followed in Kavanaugh’s Circuit Rider newsletter in July 1997. “In my creative vision, I saw Park Street lined with American flags,” Shinn wrote. “In my dream, I could hear the sound of a band as it marched down Park Street leading a Fourth of July parade. I saw people sitting in their front yards, and the street lined with people.” Shinn even saw the route of the parade culminating at Kavanaugh and a crowd eating watermelon. The Park Street Historical Association was overwhelmingly in SPRING 2020 Greenville Life 33