Islanders and visitors came out in force and entourage, as over 100 vehicles participated in a drive-through parade downtown St. James, Saturday July 4th. Led by Charlevoix County Sheriff Joe Callien, Dick McEvoy’s baby blue Cadillac convertible and followed by Joseph Moore, live-streaming on Beaver Island News on the Net, the next car held WVBI Radio Station hostesses, PABI Director and DJ, Cynthia Jaye. It was Marcy’s first Beaver Island parade and first live radio broadcast, a journey she said she enjoyed immensely.
“I am amazed at the turnout for this, Marcy said, accompanied by her children Aiden and Livvy. The cars were lined up all the way back to Isle Haven even as we had finished our circuit, they just kept coming.”
The car parade began on Kings Highway at the Holy Cross Catholic Church, passed by the public beach, then wound down Main Street to the Lighthouse where the Chamber of Commerce director, Paul Cole handed out goody bags for adults and children. “Props to Welke airport for the goody bags and the continuous airplane fly- bys across Paradise Bay.” Marcy added.
It was a real treat for this newest family on the island to get to know the vehicles, homes, community businesses and all the folks spread throughout the town. The BIC Center was decorated in red white, and blue and the Beaver Island Robotics team out front with BIRobot #6098 and that fabulous Tracker II boat up for raffle. McDonough’s Market had the Fire Department red pickup out, the Beaver Island Association displayed along with Eager Beaver Clean Store and McDonough’s Construction. Many other local businesses and organizations and community members had decorated floats or vehicles on the streets all along the road to Whiskey Point Lighthouse. Whiskey Point Brewing Co. featured clowns with candy, the Food Pantry doled out frozen pops and many homes and businesses were heavily decorated in red, white and blue regalia. A special treat was in store for the paraders passing by the Veteran’s Memorial park. Along with our Beaver Island veterans and a flag display two naval personnel stood at attention in full uniform and full dress whites. Remington and Sophia Clements, grand-niece and nephew of Dave and Sharon Blanchard came from Fenton MI and stood at attention with the veteran, taking a short break for at ease. Sophia is in the ROTC program at USC, and just got those fantastic dress whites, after her first semester… Sophia is working to get into the aviation community, majors in astronautical engineering, and hopes to go into the NASA Space program. Petty officer, 3rd class, Remington is a drilling reservist out of Detroit. He is finishing up at Spring Arbor University, with aspirations to go to Med School. He is majoring in biology and will apply to be a Medical officer. Another highlight along the parade route was members of the Fogg clan, dressed as George Washington, with crew in a small boat, Crossing the Delaware. At the Quonset hut, two more Fogg young ladies sat in rocking chairs, dressed as Betsy Ross and a companion. Of course, a local Beaver was waving from the Fogg yard.
Mini-bikes, golf carts and most cars were decorated, either along the parade route or the driving participants. A huge red white and blue, highly decorated float sat in front of Whiskey Point Lighthouse, as the moving cars made the turn to head back to town.
One more local tradition made this year’s parade as special and joyous as in many other years past on Beaver Island. Danny, Danny and Brother Jim, joined by Sean McDonough played Beaver Island songs on the porch of Beaver Island Realty Office. It was a long way to Beaver Island this year for many people, who thought they might not get here, but the show went on, no rain on this parade and the band played on.