Eagle Point, the worlds’ smallest parade
Dozens of golf carts, a Pontiac GTO, a fire truck, a bicycle, a lawn mower and several cars, participated in what is commonly known as “The Smallest, Shortest Parade in the World,” held on the Fourth of July at Eagle Point.
The parade was the brainchild of the Cousar family. Fourteen years ago Wayne Cousar, his wife Gladys and their children, Brad and Gamble, decided to celebrate Independence Day by dressing up in red, white and blue, decorating their golf cart and riding around the neighborhood. Before they knew it, swarms of children joined in, and a tradition began.
Today the parade attracts nearly three dozen golf carts and anything else on wheels.
“This is a fun neighborhood event and we let anyone who wants to participate as long as it’s in good taste,” Cousar said.
A large supporter of the parade, Linwood Alvin “Al” Cothran, died two years ago. Cothran was a World War II veteran, having served in the United States Navy Construction Battalion, known as the “Seabees.” He was described as a true patriot and served as grand marshal of Eagle Point’s parade, promoting it everywhere he went. Cothran wore many hats in the neighborhood, including patrolling its streets.
“We called him our mayor, he contributed a lot to this neighborhood,” Cousar said.
New Zion’s turnaround parade
New Zion’s American Legion Post and its Auxiliary may be the hosts of New Zion’s Fourth of July parade, but the entire community gets into the action, planning, manicuring their lawns and decorating everything that moves and a few things that don’t with American flags and Old Glory’s red, white and blue.
The parade is quite unique.
First the parade heads east down Salem Road and follows a route through downtown New Zion to the New Zion United Methodist Church, east of New Zion, where the parade makes a 360-degree turn and heads back down Salem Road, back through New Zion and ends where it began.
“We’re the only parade that you get to see twice, once from each direction,” said Jean Claire Gibbons, who has been participating in the parade since its inception. “We don’t have an entry fee. Anyone that wants to can enter and it’s all for fun.”
This year’s parade featured golf carts, a bicycle, motorcyclists, a beauty queen, dignitaries, an antique tractor, fire trucks, a few politicians and hundreds of flags.
Following the parade, the New Zion United Methodist Church, New Zion’s American Legion Post and Ladies Auxiliary hosted a veteran’s program in the church’s fellowship hall.
Anna Lynn Floyd, outgoing president of the Ladies Auxiliary, coordinated this year’s parade and program.
“Freedom is the thread that weaves the United States together and it weaves New Zion together too,” Floyd told the more than 200 who gathered for the program. “We need to embrace our soldiers and their families.”
With tears glistening in her eyes and her voice raspy with emotion, Floyd turned to the 14 veterans seated behind her at the end of the program and thanked them for their courage and service to America.
“You embody freedom,” Floyd said, “and, we thank you.”