Spirit of America shows in streets of Cooleemee
COOLEEMEE ó Several hundred folks gathered Saturday to watch as nearly 100 more paraded along the 10-block route for the Fourth of July.
Winding through streets lined with shade trees and historic mill homes, everyone celebrated the 12th Cooleemee Lawnmower Parade.
The local tradition has now come to include decorated bicycles, dogs and people walking.
This year’s grand marshal was Paul Shew, who recently retired as the town barber after 59 years.
The youngest members of the 2009 parade were 3- week-old twins, Eathan and Colton O’Neal, sons of Jamie and Terri O’Neal of Erwin Street. The oldest was 86-year-old Wayne Beck, who just returned home from hand surgery. The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to the oldest in attendance, Frances Miller, who was born on July 4th in Cooleemee 91 years ago.
Sponsored by the Town of Cooleemee, the parade was followed by free watermelon at the Arbor on the historic Zachary House grounds. The crowd also enjoyed free ice cream, free snow cones and old-fashioned Carolina hot dogs prepared by the Cooleemee Civitan Club.
Several businesses donated items including ice cream, bottled water, a snow cone machine, paper products and a water slide that delighted the children.
Best Lawnmower Float first prize and $100 went to Dan Marion. Second was awarded to Jared Smith ($50) and third was Megan Allen ($30).
In the Dog and Bicycle category, first prizes were awarded to Mary and Bailey Jordan, second to dogs Sissy and Bo, and third went to Peanuts.
An “Honorable Mention” certificate recognized Jim Osborne, who annually transforms himself into Uncle Sam.