Greenville Life Spring 2020 - Page 34

favor of the idea, with three members of the group’s Enrichment Committee volunteering to assist with hammering out the details, resulting in the first parade on July 4, 1997. These days the parade takes place exactly as it did during Shinn’s dream, with hundreds of spectators lining the street to watch the show. Many of the residents along Park Street offer up lemonade or ice water to the thirsty parade fans. Over the years, the Park Street Fourth of July Parade has also been the centerpiece for multiple connected events, such as the Star-Spangled Banners posted along the street as part of the Greenville Daybreak Rotary flag program, and the city of Greenville Parks and Recreation Department’s Firecracker 5K and Fun Run which begin and end on Park Street each July 4. The Greenville Flags Program, begun by Park Street residents Tim and Aletha Kruse in 2012, took the red. white and blue theme to a whole new level. Inspired in part by the parade’s patriotism, the Kruses now install hundreds of United States flags and crosses along the nearby Audie Murphy Overpass, part of the path of the Firecracker 5K. Shinn said he is happy to have been the inspiration behind one of Greenville’s biggest events each year. “The affirmation for me was that when people work together, dreams can come true,” he said. The Park Street Fourth of July Parade began one year after the Buena Vista/Chapman Fourth of July Parade started in the summer 1996. Whereas Park Street would include marching bands and long lines of entries, the Buena Vista/Chapman parade was known to feature a handful of the neighborhoods residents reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the national anthem while being accompanied by a stereo boom box. The parade would feature antique cars, dogs on leashes, bicycles, parents and grandparents, and toddlers in decorated wagons, with everyone gathering at the fountain area on Villa Fontana, just off Terrell Road. The parade would proceed onto Royal Lane and circle onto Chapman Drive, continue to Buena Vista, eventually returning to Villa Fontana for refreshments. Herald-Banner writer Carol Ferguson, in a 2013 article, recalled the organizers of the first Buena Vista/Chapman Parade were two neighborhood women who wanted their young children to experience the fun and patriotic ambiance of an oldfashioned Fourth of July parade. “They also wanted to begin the holiday by bringing neighbors together,” Ferguson said. Those residents who did not walk in the parade often sat in lawn chairs in their front yards and cheered on the participants, many of whom had just enough time to rush across town and then either march in or watch the Park Street parade. Unfortunately, participation in the Buena Vista/Chapman Fourth of July Parade slowly began to wane and the event has not been held since 2014. Uncle Sam traditionally helped lead the Pledge of Allegiance which would start the Buena Vista/Chapman Fourth of July Parade. TACL-A-72019E Air Conditioning & Heating Sales • Service • Installation • Commercial • Residential Greenville: 903-883-2829 Commerce: 903-886-3567 FINANCING AVAILABLE • ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED • WE SERVICE ALL BRANDS OF AC AND HEAT 34 Greenville Life SPRING 2020