by Mike Nistler
Don’t look now, but in just 12 short days the city of St. Joseph will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
And when you see Police Chief Pete Jansky wave you down at the parade, don’t be alarmed. Parade organizers have announced Jansky will be this year’s Grand Marshal in the Fourth of July Parade.
MaryBeth Munden, the administrative assistant in the police department, said when parade organizers called and asked if Jansky would do the honor, he was a bit hesitant, saying he had too much work to do. But after a little urging from his comrades, he agreed.
And Sandy Scholz, parish business director, is pleased to report the work that was being done on the parish playground and parking lot are now complete, much to everyone’s relief.
This spring’s “rain, rain, rain,” was a bit disconcerting, Scholz said, but “now the weather is warming up, the sun is shining and we’re hoping for favorable weather during the festival.”
And even though the next two weeks will be busy times for those taking part in the festival’s success, it’s not like the work started yesterday.
In some cases, planning and preparing is a yearlong event, Scholz said.
For instance, quilters who are responsible for the beautiful quilts raffled off have been working all year. This year, one unique quilt will display a number of the area golf courses.
And builders who have to fix, refurbish and build items for the celebration did so during the winter months.
When asked what percentage of church parishioners volunteer for the event, Scholz guessed about 40 percent work during the festival itself. But counting those who contribute yearround, the number skyrockets. And all parishioners, she said, have been asked to pray for a good festival all year long. So, I guess you could say there’s almost 100 percent parish participation, she said.
Scholz said many are excited for the July 3 Joetown Rocks headliners, the Fabulous Armadillos and Collective Unconscious, who will perform their “Takin’ It To the Limits, A Tribute to the Eagles” concert.
“They’re a local group so that makes it fun,” Scholz said.
And when this year’s parade is over and the crowds and vendors have gone home, the work isn’t done. Cleanup begins immediately, depending on the weather, and is mostly completed by noon the next day.
And then work on next year’s festival begins anew, Scholz said.