Shenandoah puts on patriotic best for 20th anniversary Memorial Day Festival and Parade

Page News and Courier

SHENANDOAH — As it does each year at this time, the Town of Shenandoah will put on its most patriotic face for the thousands expected to turn out for the 20th Anniversary Memorial Day Festival & Parade.

A classic car Cruz In on First Street at 6 p.m. Friday serves to kick off red-white-and-blue weekend festivities, which include a memorial ceremony at VFW Avis O. Comer Post 8613, car and truck, tractor and motorcycle shows, and, of course, the parade at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Councilman Dave Hinkle, who is co-chair along with Nancy Karnes of the Memorial Day festivities, expected the final parade-entry tally to top 100. Add to that, the car show and all the other events scheduled for the weekend, and, Hinkle said with a chuckle, between participation and attendance, "we'll have more people than we have in the town."

"We really want this to be the best ever," said Nancy Karnes, who has shared celebration duties with Hinkle for 15 years. In addition to the Friday evening Cruz In, Karnes also heads up the town's monthly Cruz Ins from June through September.

Seeming particularly calm a couple of weeks before the celebration, Karnes said, "It either works out or it doesn't. But it works out because everybody works together."

Hinkle also credits "tremendous cooperation from the community," including assistance from Town Hall in the form of funds budgeted and employees paid to help out during the event.

"We couldn't do this without the staff in the town office," Karnes said, where some helped get out 200 invitations — including one for President Trump — to the VIP luncheon held each year at Stevens Cottage.

"One year he [the president] is going to show up," said Town Manager Juanita Roudabush of the invitation sent each year to the White House.

Hinkle, who tears up when talking about the service of those in the military, emphasized the special tribute that will be paid this year to World War II veterans, many of whom are in their 90s.

"It is an emotional time," Hinkle said. "This is a patriotic little town."

World War II veterans expected to be on hand — and for whom the Town Council had authorized Mayor Clinton Lucas's purchase of special baseball caps — for Memorial Day recognition included Gerald Rinaca, Raymond Seal, Charles "Chase" Price, Larry Hensley, Randall Holland, Ernest Richards, Eddie Knight, Paul Judd, John Schneider and Irvin W. Judd Jr.

Each year, the town also gives special recognition to a service member from Virginia (closest to Shenandoah) killed in action since the previous year's Memorial Day. This year, the brick purchased by the town and placed in Veterans Park will be in honor of Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Day. The 42-year-old from Woodbridge was killed in northern Syria on Thanksgiving Day.

Serving as this year's parade Grand Marshal is Lt. Col. Jennifer Rothgeb Martin, a Shenandoah native and Page County High School graduate. Martin will also be the featured speaker at the VFW ceremony.

It is important to remember, Roudabush noted, "Memorial Day is more than a picnic and a day off work. That sentiment was instilled in us as children, and it seems to carry through the generations.

"Whether or not we have immediate family members serving," she added, "we were taught to respect and honor those who have served, and especially remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms."

Though the celebration shines a spotlight on meaning of Memorial Day, there will be host of activities to keep the young and not-so-young busy, from games and kiddie rides to book sales and bake sales to a car show that brings enthusiasts from as far away as North Carolina and Tennessee.

And when the lights go out at Shenandoah Speedway Saturday evening, rest assured that planning will already have begun for the 21st Anniversary Memorial Day Festival & Parade. January, however, is when it begins in earnest with twice monthly meetings, kicked off with, you guessed it, a dinner at Stevens Cottage.

For more information:
If you have questions about the festival or are interested in entering the parade, contact information for the individual events can be found at

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