China Grove readies for annual parade

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In just 12 short years, the China Grove Parade has become a Fourth of July tradition for many residents of Pike and surrounding counties.

The China Grove Parade is held at 10 a.m. each Fourth of July unless the Fourth comes on Sunday, then the parade is on the third day of the month.

This year, the China Grove Fourth of July Parade on Monday will be held in memory of Hank LaFountaine, who was a founding member of the annual Independence Day parade.

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The parade was originally a neighborhood parade with kids pulling wagons and riding trikes and bikes. About 50 neighbors gathered in downtown China Grove to wave flags and cheer the kids along.

When folks outside of China Grove “got wind” of the old-fashioned, down-home parade, they wanted to be a part of the fun. Now, on the Fourth of July, the usually, sleepy little China Grove community mushrooms to the second largest “town” in the county.

Between around 4,000 people celebrate Independence Day the old-fashioned with a parade that includes bicycles, tricycles, wagons, tractors, mules, lawnmowers, go-carts, golf-carts, floats, cars, trucks and “Pats and Bobs” galore.

“We invite all of those who want to parade to decorate a ride or grab one,” parade publicity chair Diane LaFountaine said laughing. “If you want to catch a ride or grab a broom and ride it, that’s fine with us. Just come and have fun celebrating the Fourth of July in China Grove.”

The parade lineup begins at 9 a.m. at the intersection of the Needmore and Lockheed Martin roads and ends just past Dean’s Store in downtown China Grove.

Signs will designate free parking areas in the downtown area. Many people choose to watch the parade from the roadway leading into China Grove. Stock parking is in the pecan grove.

Following the parade, free cold, sliced watermelon is available at Dean’s Store at the end of the parade route.

“The Meeksville Volunteer Fire Department will have barbecue plates for sale,” LaFountaine said. “Also our local churches will have cold lemonade, slushes, shaved ice, popcorn and ice cream.”

There will be live entertainment in the downtown area following the parade.

“We invite everyone to say around for lunch and enjoy the entertainment and the fellowship of friends and neighbors,” LaFountaine said. “We have a lot more than 50 people in China Grove for our annual Fourth of July Parade now but we still celebrate our country’s independence the old-fashioned, Southern way and that’s the best way.”

China Grove is located north of Troy on the Lockheed Martin Road, off U.S Highway 231 just south of the Montgomery County line.