THIS WEEKEND: Memorial Day Festival

Page News and Courier

SHENANDOAH — Dave Hinkle, town council member, is proud to coordinate the planning of the Memorial Day Festival and Parade. Now in its 19th year, the day-long series of events is a way to honor past and present veterans.

"People do not honor veterans any more," Hinkle said. "We don't honor the veterans and we don't tell them how much we appreciate them, as a country."

Hinkle sees Shenandoah as the opposite.

"Shenandoah does honor its veterans," Hinkle said. "Shenandoah is a patriotic town."

The annual event is highlighted by a memorial ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning at the VFW hall, led by Mayor Clinton Lucas. He honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving. This year, Lucas will be honoring 22-year-old Daniel Gray, a native of Stanley who died in February.

The day culminates with a parade at 3 p.m. beginning at Maryland Avenue and ending on Third Street.

"Between 5,000 and 8,000 people will be watching the parade," Hinkle said. "When you count in the parade, there are as many people in the parade as in the whole town of Shenandoah. There's a good many people who participate."

The grand marshal of this year's parade is Russ Rodriguez, a science and social studies teacher at Shenandoah Elementary School. He served in the marines for eight years, with 14 months of combat in Iraq and was a Purple Heart recipient in 2007.

"He served in the marines, got several awards, and he's a very respected teacher," Hinkle said. "He'll be the grand marshal and some of his students will be walking behind him. We're very glad to have him."

Before the parade begins, there will be a tractor show, as well as an antique car and truck show beginning at 10 a.m. at the KVK parking lot, at 500 Quincy Ave. The automobiles will be involved in a cavalcade, leading the parade.

"The cars, motorcycles and tractors from their respective shows will run the parade route right before it begins," said Juanita Roudabush, assistant town manager. "That's a really cool thing to see. Then the parade begins. It's a really patriotic scene."

There are expected to be around 200 cars and trucks in the cavalcade.

Hinkle noted that there are around 100 floats entered into the parade, but they are still accepting more. Anybody interested in participating in the parade can call Hinke at 540-421-4077.

In addition to the events on Saturday, the festivities will kick off the night before with a Cruz-In from 6-9 p.m. at First Street. The Cruz-In is essentially a car show, with refreshments and a DJ on hand.

"That's usually the biggest Cruz-In of the year that we hold," Hinkle said. "They'll close down First Street. It's free."

Hinkle and the 10-person committee begin planning the Memorial Day Festival informally as soon as the current event is over. They begin in earnest once the new year kicks off.

"If something doesn't look like it's going right, we notice it right away for next year," Hinkle said. "But, we start with a kick-off dinner in January. We've already done a lot of stuff before that by January."

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