Fourth of July Parade Rolls through Crockett

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Houston County and the City of Crockett celebrated the U.S.A.’s 242nd birthday in grand style on Wednesday, July 4. Sponsored by the Crockett Downtown Beautification Corporation (CDBC), the Fourth of July festivities kicked off with a parade though the center of town.

This year’s theme was “Freedom through the Generations” and the grand marshal of the parade was C.R.  “Chili” Hodges.

Hodges was born and raised in Houston County, Texas and resided here his entire life. He has two children, three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Hodges has been surveying land for 57 years and has been the county surveyor for the previous 48 years.

Hodges has owned and operated CR Surveying since 1970 and has been active in many civic organizations. These organizations include: the Crockett Lions, the Crockett Merchants Little League, the Crockett 4-H and the Houston County Fair.

As the parade roared to life at 10:00 a.m., crowds of people encircled the Houston County Courthouse. Police cars and fire engines led the way followed by the various floats, ATV’s, motorcycles, bikes and organizations. The parade made its way around the square and came to a stop on the eastside of the courthouse.

Once the parade reached its final destination, the formal ceremonies began. Pastor Tim Allen, the senior pastor at First Christian Church in Crockett, welcomed all the parade participants and attendees. Allen recognized the CDBC for their hard work and dedication in making the parade and celebratory activities a reality.

Next, Allen introduced Houston County Judge Jim Lovell who provided the opening remarks.

“As we celebrate our great nation’s 242nd birthday, let’s take a moment to think on what it is to be able to celebrate and that’s our freedom. In 1776, our forefathers had a vision to build a nation founded on these inalienable rights of live, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the judge said.

“From that Declaration of Independence, a free America was born,” Lovell continued. “Together we will continue on the path of greater liberty and freedom for all. To do so, it is only fitting that every Fourth of July we have celebrations like this to celebrate America’s freedom.”

The judge was followed by Crockett Mayor Joni Clonts.

“Happy Birthday America!” Clonts said as she began. “Two hundred and forty two years old and still going strong, no matter what anyone says. We really need to rejoice that we live in America, the greatest country in the world.”

As the program continued, Allen requested Pastor Ron Forhan from the Good Shepherd Fellowship Church in Crockett to lead the parade attendees in prayer.

At the prayer’s conclusion, veterans of American Legion Post 134 presented the colors and led the pledge to the American flag.

As he continued, Allen urged the parade attendees to venture over towards the north side of the courthouse to enjoy some hotdogs and soft drinks along with fresh pies being sold by the CDBC.

Allen went on to announce the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce had captured first place in the float category. The float entered by Windy Hills Farms was second in the judging and the entry by the Jarrell Beasley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was third.

In the bike decorating contest, Ansley S. Lanina took top honors. Josie Ditoro took home second place and Evan Minchew placed third in the contest for their efforts.

In the pie category, Audrey Woods finished first, Corrie Ainsworth was second and Joy Thompson was third.

Closing out the ceremony was a stirring rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” performed by those in attendance.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com. .