Folks have been asking if there’s going to be a Lone Ranger Parade and Festival this year and the answer is no.
On Monday, Rod Charles, the event’s founder and driving force since 2013, confirmed that it’s not happening because he wanted to hand the reins over to someone else, but no one stepped up.
“I’ve been telling people for over a year now . . . I can’t do it (this year) and if somebody else wants to, I’ll help them every way I can,” he said. “I’ve had people ask about it. They raise their hand (and) say, ‘Yeah, I want to do it’ and then, that’s it – you don’t hear from them again.”
Given that nobody took him up on his offer, Charles said, “Maybe no one believed me.”
Charles has been the leader of the Lone Ranger Posse, the all-volunteer group that’s been responsible for organizing the event and conducting fund-raisers to support it.
According to Charles, there are “a number of reasons” he didn’t want to be in charge this year, but the main one is burnout.
“(In) six years, I haven’t had a vacation because it’s a lot of work . . . It’s a lot more work than the general public realizes . . It’s a tremendous amount of effort that goes into this,” he said.
“I’ve been telling people . . . that they’ve got to find somebody (else to do it) . . . but everybody has a hard time finding volunteers. Apparently, everyone sits on Facebook and makes comments, but it’s hard to actually do stuff,” Charles said.
He believes people probably figured, “Well, he’s said that before. He’ll get talked into (doing) it again.”
That didn’t happen.
“I need a break,” said Charles, who noted he and his wife will be taking a trip to Alaska in August.
Going forward, Charles indicated he’s still willing to help anyone who’s interested in planning an event in Oxford “be it (continuing the) Lone Ranger (theme) or (doing) something else.”
“I told everybody if they want to do something, I’d be more than happy to help them with all the procedures,” he said.
Personally, Charles believes having an event centered around the fictional Lone Ranger character is a “cool theme” that makes Oxford “stand out in a crowd.”
“Part of the goal was to bring attention to Oxford,” he said.
He believes the event was successful in that regard, given the thousands of people it drew to the community every August and the fact that whenever he was out of town and mentioned to someone he was from Oxford, they would bring up the Lone Ranger.
The parade and festival came about as a result of the community’s unique connection to the Lone Ranger character via the late Brace Beemer, the Oxford Township resident with the booming voice who famously portrayed the masked Old West lawman on coast-to-coast radio from 1941-54.