HUNTSVILLE — If you’re a Scott County military veteran who fought in Korea, the Town of Huntsville is inviting you to take a leading role in this year’s Independence Day parade.
Mayor Dennis Jeffers said the town is attempting to identify veterans of the Korean War to serve as grand marshals for this year’s parade, which will be held at 11 a.m. on July 4.
The parade is one of the highlights of the town’s annual Firemen’s Fourth celebration, a two-day event that will begin on Wednesday, July 3, before ramping up for a full day of festivities on Independence Day.
Jeffers said he knows of two Korean War veterans in Scott County, but also knows there are more — and he wants as many as possible to participate in the parade.
“I don’t care if there’s 400 . . . we’ll put four trailers in the parade and accommodate all of them,” Jeffers said. “But I expect 10 to 15.”
Two years ago, the town invited Scott County’s World War II veterans to serve as grand marshals of the parade. Only two were able to attend. Jeffers said Scott County’s older veterans are declining in number and the community deserves to be able to honor them.
“If they want to come, we want to welcome them,” Jeffers said. “I just need someone in their family to contact me and let me know they’re interested.”
Family members of Korean War veterans can call Huntsville City Hall, 423-663-3471.
Planning for this year’s Firemen’s Fourth is in full swing. The customary highlights will be in place, with a pancake breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. on July 4, with a 5K and 10K run that morning. The parade lineup will begin at 10 a.m., with the parade stepping off at 11 a.m. And the annual fireworks display will begin at dusk, or around 10 p.m., on July 4.
For a second straight year, the county-wide prayer meeting will take place on the mall on July 3. The stage will be reserved for gospel singers that day. Traditionally, the prayer meeting is on the second Tuesday of each month. Last year, however, it was moved to July 3 to coincide with the Independence Day festival. It worked so well that organizers decided to do the same this year.
“That was the biggest July 3 crowd I’ve seen in a long time,” Jeffers said.
An entertainment lineup for this year’s festival has not been finalized, though Jeffers said that Scott County native Chloe Litton will sing. Litton, who grew up in northwest Georgia, spends much of her time in Nashville these days and has a full-length album set for release on June 28, just days ahead of the festival.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes for this year’s festival will be the the absence of carnival rides, which had become a staple in recent years. Jeffers said a scheduling disagreement with the ride’s owner will likely result in the rides being nixed. Instead, he said, several branches of the armed forces — so far, the Navy and Army have confirmed, while talks are ongoing between the town and the Marines and Air Force — will be on hand on the north end of the mall where the rides are typically located.
Another change will see the newly-restored Scott County Jail open for tours. Jeffers will lead tours of the jail at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on July 4. Admission will be $5, with proceeds going to the jail restoration fund. Persons interested in touring the jail can call the mayor’s office, 569-3471, to pre-register.
Booth spaces are still available for the festival, Jeffers said.