All roads lead to China Grove on the ‘Fourth’

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On the Fourth of July all roads will lead to China Grove – all roads expect the Needmore Road where the bridge is out.

But Diane LaFountaine, an organizer of the 10th annual China Grove Fourth of July Parade, said everyone coming from the south is encouraged to use the Lockheed Martin Road while those coming from Montgomery may use the Meriwether Trail Road.

“From all indications, we’ll have a big crowd,” LaFountaine said. “I’ve had calls from people in Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida and from as far north in Alabama as Huntsville. We’re excited that so many people want to celebrate the Fourth of July with us.”

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The population of China Grove is between 50 and 150 depending on who wants to claim residency. The metropolitan area has about 50 residents and the suburbs stretch as far as the love of community, LaFountaine said.

“I think that people come to China Grove on the Fourth of July because it’s just a simple little parade with a down-home atmosphere,” she said. “And, a lot of people come just because they’ve heard others say, ‘You won’t believe it!,’ and they want to come and see. And, they really won’t believe all of the people who come and how much fun we have.”

The Independence Day celebration is “simply family, friends and rank strangers” stepping back together to a simple time when front porches were in and clocks were out.

No one is ever in a hurry to leave China Grove because there’s not a better place to be on the Fourth of July.

“This year we have five churches participating so we’ll have a variety of foods and lots of cold drinks, shaved ice and ice cream,” LaFountaine said.

“Of course, the Deans will have plenty of free watermelon. But the barbecue plates sell fast so we encourage everyone to get in the chow line early.

“We’re excited to have the Texas Roadhouse from Montgomery to participate. They have surprises to throw from their float, and they’re bringing their two-step dancers to entertain us. We also have a gospel group that will sing.

So we invite everyone to stay for lunch and then spend the afternoon in China Grove.”