Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 4, 2014

Bellefonte Parade big on patriotism

BELLEFONTE — What the annual Bellefonte Fourth of July parade lacks in size it easily made up for in sheer patriotism.

Just look at Allyson Bake, who marched the parade route in a red, white and blue Uncle Sam suit, complete with top hat.

“We’ve been coming since 2002, and love it,” she said. “We wouldn’t miss it.”

For many, the Fourth of July is a day to celebrate independence, as well as a time to celebrate family, which is why Michael and Cheri Light have been hosting a Fourth of July Parade for the past two decades.

For the Light family, the holiday has always held a special place in their hearts. For years, the Lights would travel to Springfield, Mo., to celebrate the holiday with Mr. Light’s mother, stepfather and entire family.

His parents’ neighborhood had a backyard picnic that included around 200 neighbors. His mother would dress up the children in the neighborhood with anything she had available and supply them with toy instruments, and his dad would march them through the neighborhood playing his trumpet.

The Fourth of July family tradition came to a brief end in 1989, when Mike’s parents passed away in a car accident on the way to Mike and Cheri’s house in Boyd County.

The Lights decided to carry on their tradition of celebrating and began having parties of their own, which led to them sitting around talking and coming up with a plan to start a July Fourth parade in Bellefonte, starting and ending at the Presbyterian Church in Bellefonte.

“We’re glad to be able to do this every year,” Michael Light said, “It’s great to see the community come together.”

Light’s sister, Sara Jane Herr, came in from Colorado to attend the parade.

“It’s bringing beautiful memories from the past to the present,” she said.

Ron and Diane Cartee were Grand Marshall at the parade.

“It’’s a real honor to be a part of the parade,” Diane Cartee said. “And it’s looks like the weather is on our side.

According to Light, the Cartees contribute very much to the event every year and are the main contributors for the fantastic firework display they set off next to the Community Presbyterian Church in Bellefonte when night falls.

Everyone who watched the parade was invited to fill their stomachs with hot dogs, pop and chips and have a merry time. Mike Hobbs and Frank Warner were in charge of the grill.

Hobbs who has been helping with the parade for 15 years, said they were able to get most of the food donated, and that this was the best weather they had for the parade in years.

First time Bellefonte parade goers, Patty, Amanda and Claire Fields, greatly enjoyed the festive event.

“We will most definitely try to come back next year,” Patty Fields said.

 There were prizes awarded for the best boy and girl decorated bike, best float, best car, best patriotic costume and best yard decorations. This year the parade was led by Boy Scout troup 154.

Light looks forward to many more years of tradition.

“It brings the community together,” he said. “It makes neighbors realize, they have neighbors.”

Russell also had a Fourth of July Celebration parade.

MARY ALFORD can be reached at malford@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2657.​

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