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China Grove gears up for ‘Fourth’ parade

Just when you thought that the China Grove Fourth of July Parade couldn’t get any better, it “went and did it.”

Diane LaFountaine, a parade organizer, said the 10th Annual China Grove Fourth of July Parade will feature a “High Noon Street Dance” and what a way to top off the “anything goes” parade.

The parade will come a-marchin’ along at 10 a.m., but folks will line the roadway long before then. Lawn chairs and the pickup trucks claim the best spots on Lockheed Martin road all the way to downtown China Grove. In town, benches offer the best seats in the house but there aren’t enough of them to accommodate the crowd that stations itself near the chow line. So the overflow spills over to the yards that are all manicured for the occasion and along the “street.”

Parade lineup is at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Needmore and Lockheed Martin Roads and anybody and anything is welcome join in.

“You can ride anything you want or walk any way you want,” LaFountaine said. Tricycles, bicycles, antique cars, brand new cars, tractors, limousines, horse and wagons, station wagons, mules, armadillos, horses, lawnmowers, billy goats, four-wheels, motor homes, boats and even floats are allowed.

Clowns, cowboys, hobos, prissy women and even squalling young’uns can stroll the streets of China Grove when the parade comes to town.

“We already got a great parade lineup, and we invite everyone to decorate a ride or grab one and come and get in line Saturday morning,” LaFountaine said. “You don’t have to tell us you’re coming. Just come on.”

And, at China Grove, the pace is still slow enough that throwing candy is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.”

Although China Grove is not a big metropolis with fancy restaurants, on the Fourth of July, there’s no better eating anywhere.

The Meeksville Volunteer Fire Department will have its famous barbecue — chicken or pork — plates with the barbecue cooked right before your eyes. Area churches will be the proprietors of outdoor ice cream parlors and slushes, shaved ice and cold, fresh “squoze” lemonade will save the day.

And those who think that nothing is free anymore have never been to China Grove on the Fourth of July.

Following the parade, the Jimmy Dean family will slice up a ton of ice-cold watermelons and “thank you” is all they pay they need or want.

Before and after the parade, the crowd will be entertained by music, “Live from the heart of downtown China Grove.

“The Texas Roadhouse Two-Step Dancers will be here for the ‘High Noon Street Dance’ and, hopefully, the weather will give us a little break,” LaFountaine said.

“But it is the Fourth of July and, in Southeast Alabama, we expect it to be hot so we can handle it.”