By Cody Wright
For yet another summer, Oxford will be hosting the Lone Ranger Parade and Festival in celebration of its historical connection with the iconic masked man.
On Saturday, Aug. 4 the parade will make its way through downtown Oxford, starting at the Oxford Marketplace and ending at the fire-station. So far about 60 applicants have entered the parade, and many vendors and attractions will be setting up for the day to carry on the celebration.
“You can expect to see a rock climbing wall, fire-breathing performers, and a mechanical bull,” said parade organizer Rod Charles.
These events will be free of charge thanks to the money that was either raised or donated by the Pub Crawl and Genisys Credit Union.
The festival will also include magician, mentalist, and entertainer Anthony Grupido, a bounce house, and puppet show for the kids, just to name a few.
There will also be musical performances from Lapeer’s band, 3rd degree Burns, the DixieLand Band, and Garmony of Harmony.
This year TTI Inc. will be handling all the vendors, which there will be plenty of, for both adults and children. The festival starts at 10 a.m. and usually tends to end around 5 p.m, most of this all taking place on Burdick St.
However, this day wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for all the coordinators that work under Rod Charles as volunteers.
Going by the name of The Lone Ranger Posse, and working behind the scenes, these guys work to make sure everything and everyone is taken care of leading up to the big day. This is all done without reward of any salary, the only thing that fuels these guys is passion and dedication to the community.
“Our overall goal,” says Charles, ‘is to draw people from outside of Oxford into our community, perhaps people who have never been here. We have such a unique connection to this character, and not a lot of people know this,’ he explained.
Over 50 years ago, famous radio actor Brace Beemer resided on a 300-acre ranch called Paint Creek Acres, located on W. Drahner Rd. Beemer was mostly known for his portrayal of the Lone Ranger on the radio starting in 1941, first solely by voice, and then later took over the role of his image as well.
From 1941 to 1954 he was the man behind the mask on the radio, and he lived out the remaining years of his life right here in Oxford until he passed away in 1965.
Now for the fifth year in a row Oxford will celebrate its rich historical connection to such an iconic character of late American pop-culture.
Parade entries are still coming in, but so far it’s shaping up to be a great turn out.
This year the Michigan State alumni band will be making an appearance, and of course it wouldn’t be a parade without Oxford High Schools very own marching band. You will also see superheroes such as Wonder Woman, Captain America, and Batman, and at some point in the march you will witness Sullivan’s very own Irish dancers, and Valor Salon. Oxford High School grad, Brennan Burrows, will also be marching this year for receiving the Lone Ranger Scholarship, all raised by the Lone Ranger Posse.
Of course, this whole day wouldn’t be complete without the Lone Ranger and Tonto, who is played by Bobby Johnson every year.
The parade is set to start at 11 a.m., participants should arrive at the starting point for check-in at 9 a.m.
Afterwards everyone is invited and encouraged to stick around for the festivities and to suck up the summer atmosphere, as we celebrate the community’s past and present culture.
To enter the parade or get additional information, visit homeofthemask.com.