City leaders express pride in new July Fourth traditions

Published 9:16 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

It should come as no surprise that the Fourth of July parade will be missing from the list of things to do this weekend as there was not a parade last year either.
The City of Elizabethton has moved away from that particular tradition and into a set new ones, Elizabethton City Manager Jerome Kitchens said.
While it was a cherished tradition in Elizabethton, Kitchens said the town has improved upon the annual celebration of the nation’s independence.
“We started a new tradition last year with the July Fourth ceremony and concert at the Covered Bridge,” Kitchens said.
City Councilman Bob Cable was the last person to tackle organizing a parade in 2013.
“The last parade that Bob Cable did was one of the biggest parades we ever had,” Kitchen said. “It would be difficult to come anywhere close to what he did.”
The problem surrounding organization of a parade has been centered around students in school bands being unavailable and the cost associated with it.
“The problem was that bands and students are not as available in summer,” Kitchens said. “The cost is quite a bit higher for putting that together.”
There are still many other ways to celebrate the holiday in Elizabethton, Kitchens said.
“We are still keeping our people connected to the spirit of the Fourth of July,” he said.
Downtown Business Association President Cathy Shoun expressed her sentiments toward no longer having a parade.
“It is a tradition that we don’t really want to see go away,” she said. “Traditions are important to our downtown and to our city.”
It was a great family-friendly activity for the community and children enjoyed being a part of it, she said. But, Shoun welcomes the change and encourages others to do the same.
“They have been trying something different the past couple years,” she said. “Parades are hard to organize but, they are still doing activities to keep the community involved. There’s still a lot to do.”
If a parade is what the community is looking for, another local tradition may fill the void. The Watauga Lake Boat Parade will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Shoun is excited to see the new stage at the Covered Bridge being used.
“They have really been really promoting that,” Shoun said.
Also, a Stars and Stripes 4K Run and 3K Walk organized by the United Way will be held tomorrow.
Pre-registration ends today and the fee is $20. The fee for registering the day of the event is $25. All proceeds from the event will benefit the United Way.
For information about other holiday events happening this weekend, call the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department at 547-6441.

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