Organizers and volunteers of this year’s Joetown Rocks and the Church of St. Joseph Fourth of July Celebration deserve a hearty pat on the back.
One of the largest crowds in recent history attended the two days of festivities, which kicked off on Wednesday night with a lineup of music that more than pleased the large crowd estimated at around 15,000 people.
Everywhere you looked people were eating, drinking, talking and reveling in the sun-filled skies and perfect temperatures. After last year’s humid and stifling temps near 100, this year’s weather couldn’t have been more picture-perfect.
The same held true on Thursday for the St. Joseph Lions Fourth of July Parade. Again, large crowds estimated in the 20,000 range lined the streets. Many set out chairs hours before the 10 a.m. parade to reserve their spots along the parade route. Many of the folks were local, but others came from far and wide, including places like Arizona and Florida and states in between. For many, it’s an annual tradition that makes summer complete.
Maybe the large attendance was due to this year’s long winter that seemed to push spring back by months.
Or maybe it’s just that festival-goers know what to expect when they come to St. Joseph for the party.
And that’s because of those who organize and volunteer all year long to plan and prepare.
That group is led by Sandy Scholz, parish business manager. Scholz is quick to point out she’s just one of many who plays a role in the event. More than 1,000 parishioners volunteer during the event and some work at it all year long. There’s planning to do, and that begins the moment one year’s festival is done. There is work done in the dead of winter. There is work that needs to be done the moment the festival is over, especially taking down displays and cleaning up.
We shouldn’t forget to thank also the chairpersons who make the parade a success — Ken and Mary Stommes and Joe Bechtold.
But there are so many more to thank that it would be impossible to name them all. There were those who toiled over the grills making the wonderful food. Others worked in the beer tent as thirsty patrons waited sometimes several people deep. And still others worked security, checking purses and bags to ensure the safety of all.
St. Joseph should be proud of these hard workers and of being able to host such a wonderful event. It’s a feather in the city’s cap.
Let’s relish this year’s success as we eagerly await next year’s festival.