Organizers of the Lone Ranger Parade and Festival should be extremely proud of how all their donated time and labor paid off this year.
It started with the Pub Crawl fund-raiser in downtown Oxford back in June (which attracted more than 500 friends of the Masked Man) and ended with what was undeniably the best gosh darn Saturday of the whole year in our fair town.
The Lone Ranger Posse should be thanked and praised for all their hard work over the past five years. Members of the Posse include Mary Ellen Faulkner, Susan Schurr, Geno Mallia, Joe Young, Angela Logan, Craig Shagena, Walt Bargen, Carol Carr, Chris Zitny and Rod Charles.
There were 60-plus entries in the parade and Oxford’s Valor Salon won the best float, which means it will receive six weeks worth of free advertising from Sherman Publications/The Oxford Leader. Valor Salon would have won last year, too, if there had been a contest for a group that always looks like they’re enjoying themselves. You can’t help but smile as they go by.
Bobby Johnson returned in his role of Tonto while the Lone Ranger was portrayed by Jason Van Duyn. The Masked Man was seen gently hoisting kids up onto his horse, posing for photos and chatting with folks. Brace Beemer would have been proud.
There was no shortage of organizations that contributed to the festival, hosting events like the pancake breakfast at Immanuel Congregational Church and the ice cream social at Oxford United Methodist Church. Then, there was the Kids Corral, Toddler Zone, all the musical acts and, as always, plenty of shopping, ranging from artisans and vendors to the businesses that populate our beautiful downtown.
Hundreds of people turned out to watch the parade and organizers say they’ve never seen so many young children wearing masks.
The history of the Lone Ranger will never die in Oxford, the true Home of the Mask.
This was my fifth time marching in the parade while wearing a clown Big Head from the Detroit-based Parade Company and every time, I love doing it more and more.
Everyone who enjoyed the day should consider participating in some way, whether it’s volunteering with the Posse, marching in the parade or building a float.
It will make your heart feel good.
– Publisher Jim Sherman, Jr.