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‘Big’ July 4 events planned in city

The Fourth of July is always a major occasion in Mount Airy, and will be even more so this year — one Deputy Barney Fife might call “big, really big.”

In addition to the usual festivities such as a parade and fireworks, a legendary hometown girl, Donna Fargo, will return to serve as grand marshal for the parade and the dedication of a new mural honoring the singer in Canteen Alley downtown.

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx and state Rep. Sarah Stevens, who represent Surry County in their respective legislative halls, are scheduled to attend the mural event.

“I think it’s absolutely about Donna Fargo,” Mayor Jon Cawley said regarding the July 4 presence of the Grammy winner from Mount Airy known for such hits as “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA.”

“But I’m really excited so many elected officials could work it in their schedule to be with us,” Cawley said of individuals such as Foxx, Stevens and others. “It’s going to be a big deal.”

The mayor said many people take vacations during the July 4 holiday period. But he thinks the significance of Fargo’s mural ceremony and her other appearances should prompt some to stay home to attend, including dignitaries, reminiscent of community Independence Day celebrations in the past.

“It’s going to be an old-fashioned Fourth of July.”

Reading of declaration

The holiday celebration will begin with what has become a popular Fourth fixture in recent years, a reading of the Declaration of Independence that provided the framework for America seeking its autonomy from the British.

It is scheduled for 11 a.m. in the courtyard of Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, according to a schedule of activities provided by Jennie Lowry of the Downtown Business Association.

The historic document is to be read by either Brack Llewellyn or Mark Brown, with that presenter and others involved typically dressed in colonial-era clothing.

A crowd usually gathers in the museum courtyard for the reading.

Parade plans

About the same time as the Declaration of Independence is being recited downtown around 11 a.m., the parade units will step off from Veterans Memorial Park en route to the central business district.

The procession will include Fargo as grand marshal along with artist Brian Lewis of Greensboro — better known as JEKS — who painted the mural of her along with previous ones downtown dedicated to Andy Griffith and local singer Melva Houston.

A number of patriotic floats is be featured among other attractions, although the exact number of units is not known since parade entries will be accepted through this coming Saturday.

Lowry mentioned that Honor Scouts from the Seven Rivers District are slated to carry the flag.

Other noteworthy parade attractions will include participants from a Donna Fargo lookalike contest and fashion show held as a mural fundraiser.

“We do have some animals,” Lowry added. “One entry is a child with a pet lamb.”

Mural program

After the parade — we are shooting for 1 p.m. — we will have a ribbon cutting and dedication at the mural with Donna Fargo,” Lowry related.

In addition to Foxx and Stevens, Mayor Cawley will offer remarks, with Bill Goins, a Mount Airy District representative on the Surry Board of Commissioners, to represent the county government.

Beginning at 3 p.m. on July 4, Fargo — who now lives in the Nashville area — will begin greeting fans and signing autographs until 5:30 p.m. at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.

“We will have live music in the museum courtyard by Steve Jarrell,” Lowry further detailed. “Steve was a member of Donna’s band a long time ago and he has come to help us with our performances at the (Blackmon) amphitheater in years past.”

Jarrell is one of five Mount Airy natives who were in Fargo’s band long ago, according to Lowry.

Memorabilia from the singer’s collection also will be set up in the museum for fans to enjoy. “Many of her costumes and memorabilia that she donated to the museum which are not currently on display will be able to be seen on that day,” according to Lowry.

Fireworks show

When darkness falls, an annual Fourth of July fireworks display is planned at Veterans Memorial Park on West Lebanon Street.

In addition to the visual show, music, food and other activities will be hosted beforehand at the park, spearheaded by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts.

Lowry mentioned that those groups also partner with the Downtown Business Association to facilitate the parade, which will be broadcast live by radio station WSYD.

“In addition, I will be interviewing Donna on June 29 on WPAQ at 3 p.m.”



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