Missouri mayor to serve as Mount Airy parade grand marshal

September 02, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

Mayor Bob Davis of Alexandria, Mo., is busy rebuilding his house, which was damaged in last summer's Midwest floods.

But he's taking time out for a trip to Mount Airy to be grand marshal in the town's centennial parade Sept. 24.

Originally, Mr. Davis said he declined the invitation to be in Mount Airy's parade because he needed to finish his house. But the connection between Mount Airy and Alexandria changed his mind.

The town of Mount Airy adopted the small Missouri town last summer after it had been nearly destroyed by flooding. Mount Airy residents raised $50,000 for Alexandria and collected an equivalent amount worth of appliances, clothes and Christmas gifts that town residents delivered to Alexandria.

"I started to think that those people have been so good to us, I said I'll do it [be parade marshal]," Mr. Davis said.

He and his wife, Barbara Jean, plan to drive the 900 miles miles to Mount Airy on Sept. 22 to spend time with Mayor Gerald Johnson, Dorothy Gosnell, Suzanne Mead and others who went to Alexandria to help with the flood relief effort.

Mr. Davis, who has never been in a parade, said he's looking forward to participating in Mount Airy's centennial celebration.

"I haven't been away [from Alexandria] since the flood," Mr. Davis said. "I think this'll do me good."

Members of Mount Airy's centennial committee are certain Mr. Davis will be impressed with the way they put on a parade.

"This only happens once every hundred years," said Ben Gue, who chaired the parade committee and owns Ben Gue Antiques on Main Street.

"We wanted it to be big and splashy and something people will remember," he said.

Other committee members include Christine and Bob Bingaman, Rick Lawson and Betty Ifert.

Mr. Gue said 100 to 125 groups will participate in the parade, which will be start at 7 p.m.

Its route begins at Mount Elementary School on North Main Street and ends at Ridgeville Boulevard and Main Street, at the Food Rite market.

A preparade show is scheduled for 6 p.m. with reserved seating along Main Street, from Farmers and Mechanics Bank to the old firehouse. Tickets are $5.

The show will feature the Crean String Band from Philadelphia and the Linganore High School marching band.

Matthew Coyle, 12, of Mount Airy, who this year won the Maryland Geography Bee and participated in the national geography bee in Washington, will be the parade grand marshal for the kids.

Mr. Gue has been involved in planning the past two Mount Airy Fall Festivals, but the centennial parade is much larger.

"It's a lot of calling and checking and verifying and then calling again and saying is it for sure," he said.

Among the parade highlights will be commercially made floats that are sure to inspire many ooooohs and ahhhhhhs.

One float has a Cinderella theme and features a real waterfall, Mr. Gue said. And the rainbow float comes with real rain.

The centennial committee float will be pulled by Clydesdale horses and includes lights and a sound system. The parade also will feature marching bands, a horse-drawn ice wagon, an antique hearse and horse-drawn buggies.

Mr. Gue declined to give the cost of the parade.

For tickets to the preparade show, call Ben Gue at (301) 829-2112 or stop by his store at 6 S. Main St.

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