Faith residents gear up for parade

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
FAITH — This year’s Faith Fourth of July parade will have special meaning to Maude Bledsoe and her family.
It will mark the first time in more than 40 years that her husband, Bill Bledsoe, will not be in attendance.
Bill Bledsoe died in November after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease a month earlier.
Faithful parade attendees probably remember Bill Bledsoe as the clown with a driverless car, also known as the “funny Ford.”
“He was always a big crowd pleaser,” Maude said. “All the way down the street the car would shoot water and circle and make noises.”
Maude said although the family lived in Clemmons before relocating to Fayetteville, her husband never missed a parade.
He went the last two years even though he didn’t feel well enough to participate.
“The Fourth of July parade was one of his favorite things because there is so much spirit in that community,” Maude said. “It was always such a treat.”
Bill began performing in the parade with his father, Bill Sr. It eventually grew into a family act that included Bill’s children, nieces, nephews nd even a next door neighbor.
Maude and her family will be on hand for this year’s parade.
And her teenage grandchildren Bristol Barnette, Marshall Barnette and Callie Davis will dress up as clowns to fill in for their grandfather.
Pam Alexander, who organized the parade with her mother and father Sylvia and James Alexander, said they decided to dedicate the parade in Bill’s memory this year because of his long-standing participation.
“The whole family feels so honored that the people of Faith had such high regard for him,” Maude said. “I guess after all those years they built a relationship with him.”
Pam Alexander will present the family with a certificate the morning of the parade.
“It’s going to be very emotional,” Maude said.
Maude said Bill was always a fun loving person.
“He just enjoyed fellowship with people and making them laugh,” she said. “During the parade he would always go down the street shaking children’s hands.”
• • •
Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner will serve as the grand marshal for this year’s parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, July 4.
More than 160 units will be part of the parade, including firetrucks and one of the steel beams from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The beam, which was obtained by the city of Salisbury in May, will be on display at the Faith American Legion Park throughout the Faith Fourth of July’s weeklong festivities.
The Salisbury Swing Band is a new addition to the parade. They’ll also perform after the parade following the flag raising and the National Anthem.
Alexander said the parade typically draws a crowd of 30,000 people.
• • •
The 65th annual Faith Fourth of July celebration will kick off at 6 p.m. Monday with rides and food vendors opening up shop.
All rides will cost $1 during opening night.
Rides, foods and entertainment will continue throughout the week.
The seventh annual Faith Idol Contest will begin Wednesday.
It will feature solo performances by a dozen people each night. Children 12 and younger will perform Wednesday, teenagers 13-18 will take the stage Thursday and adults will have their turn Friday.
“There are three finalists for each age category and they will compete in the final on July Fourth,” Alexander said.
Alexander said people can enjoy music performances ranging from oldies to beach music to pop for free each night.
“The only thing people have to pay for is rides and food,” she said.
Children can participate in old-timey games such as a watermelon eating contest and egg toss at 7 p.m. July 4.
The celebration will wrap up after the fireworks at 10:30 p.m. July 4.
“We’ll have a salute to volunteers that night on the ball field at 10 p.m.,” Alexander said. “They work so hard.”
Volunteers include members of the Faith Civitan Club, Faith Jaycees, Faith American Legion and Faith Legion Auxillary as well as local residents.
Alexander said this year’s festivities will provide the same family-oriented flair that people have come to expect.
“We try to keep the small town flavor to it,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun and there is something for every age group.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

Faith Fourth of July schedule
Monday, June 27
6 p.m. — Food booths and rides open
7:30 p.m. — The Entertainers perform
*Dollars Night (All rides $1)
Tuesday, June 28
6 p.m. — Food booths and rides open
7:30 p.m. — Jim Quick & Coastline perform
Wednesday, June 29
6 p.m. — Food booths and rides open
7:30 p.m. — Mark Roberts & The Breeze Band perform
8:30 p.m. — Faith Idol competition
*Food Lion armband night ($5 off with MVP card)
Thursday, June 30
6 p.m. — Food booths and rides open
7:30 p.m. — Sea Cruz performs
8:30 p.m. — Faith Idol competition
Friday, July 1
6 p.m. — Food booths and rides open
7:30 p.m. — Atlantic Groove Band performs
8:30 p.m. — Faith Idol competition
Saturday, July 2
6 p.m. — Food booths and rides open
7:30 p.m. — Billy Joel and Elton John Tribute band performs
Sunday, July 3
4 p.m. — Food booths open, Shrine Band performs at Faith Baptist Church
5 p.m. — Patriotic program at Faith Baptist
6 p.m. — Rides open
7 p.m. — Gospel music by One Road Home
8:30 p.m. — Gospel music by The Chapeleers
Monday, July 4
10 a.m. — Parade
Noon to 5 p.m. — Armband for rides $20
7 p.m. — Faith Idol finals; races, games, watermelon contest and egg toss at Faith school ballpark
8 p.m. — The Catalinas perform
9 p.m. — Wrestling
10 p.m. — Salute to volunteers
10:30 p.m. Fireworks