The first annual Fourth of July Parade on Lookout Mountain was a tremendous success in spite of the weather. It poured rain all morning until, miraculously, around 10:15 a.m., the rain stopped and the sun came out just in time for the 10:30 a.m. festivities!
This parade was largely due to the heroic efforts of Michelle and Justin Workman, Angie Sutherland, Sarah Lehn and David Bennett, with lots of help from Wendy Taliaferro, Ross Ballenger, Katherine Smith, Beth Wingfield, Amy Tolson and Kristy Presley, among others. The procession began at the Lookout Mountain, Ga., Fire Hall and ended at the Commons. Georgia and Tennessee mayors David Bennett and Carol Mutter led off the parade, waving from their regal perches on the back of a convertible driven by Georgia councilmember Taylor Watson. Despite the uncertainty of the weather, over 25 cars, bicycles, golf carts, pedestrians, police cars, fire engines, trucks and floats noisily traversed the mountain, with participants throwing candy and beads to the large crowds that were gathered along the Lula Lake Road and Scenic Highway.
One memorable float had a large inflatable patriotic eagle strapped to its top and another one featured a child dressed up as an eagle in a red and white striped jumpsuit. A bevy of motorbikes roared through, driven by pint-sized operators dressed in Fourth of July colors. There was an unicyclist veering down the road, and dogs were decked out in red, white and blue, adding to the Norman Rockwell feel of the morning.
At the Commons Pavilion, music added to the festive ambiance as Tressie Chandler sold snow cones. Other food choices included Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Mallory Alling’s delicious macaroons. The crowd clamored for the beach balls being tossed out, and everyone had a great time visiting with friends and making new ones. Jody and Bob Clark invited their neighbors for coffee and donuts on their front porch, a prime viewing spot at the corner of Scenic Highway and Willingham Road.
There’s nothing like a little healthy competition, and several prizes were awarded. The Ealeys took first place for the best golf cart with the eagle; the best two-wheeler went to the Wingfields for the motorcade; and the best float went to the Lookout Mountain Mirror with its newspaper car decorated by Farell McGinness. Other awards went to the spectacular flower float, covered in paper flowers, and the Girl Scout float loaded with Scouts who “shot” confetti and streamers at the crowds.
As far as I know, this Fourth of July Parade is a first for the mountain. The only previous festivity that was ever held on the Fourth of July was the Mountain Mile Race that was organized decades ago by Coach Buck Stamps and Coach Rick Dockery and consisted of a foot race for children.
The 2017 parade was created by the Lookout Mountain Town Hall subcommittee, headed by Angie Sutherland, who was asked to think of ways to increase the “esprit de corps” and draw the Georgia and Tennessee sides of Lookout Mountain together for fun events. The committee is planning on two or three more events during the year.
On July 4, 2017, the Lookout Mountain residents’ love of their community was clear. What an outstanding success!