By CAROL FERGUSON
James Evans, District 2 representative on the Greenville City Council and a Buena Vista Drive resident, will be the grand marshal of the 18th annual Buena Vista/Chapman Fourth of July Parade.
Because of increased participation last year, the parade — the oldest continuing neighborhood parade in Greenville — will begin a half-hour earlier and proceed on a longer route than previously.
At 8:15 a.m., Thursday, participants will gather at the fountain area on Villa Fontana, just off Terrell Road. At 8:30 a.m., after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the marchers and cars will proceed out of Villa Fontana onto Royal Lane and circle onto Chapman Drive, continuing around to Buena Vista where they will then head north to Royal Lane and return to Villa Fontana for refreshments.
The parade will feature antique cars, dogs on leashes, bicycles, parents and grandparents, and toddlers in decorated wagons, accompanied by the recorded band music of John Philip Sousa.
Evans will ride in an antique car, a 1913 REO, driven and owned by David Rose of David’s Foreign Service. (The REO Motor Car Company was founded in 1905 by Ransom E. Olds; the company later adopted the name Oldsmobile.)
Registration is not required to be part of this free event. Since the parade is starting one-half hour earlier this year, the 8:30 a.m. beginning will allow sufficient time to take part in this parade as well as to watch the Park Street Parade which begins at 10 a.m.
Original organizers of the first Buena Vista/Chapman Parade were two neighborhood women who wanted their young children to experience the fun and patriotic ambiance of an old-fashioned Fourth of July parade.
They also wanted to begin the holiday by bringing neighbors together. When these two moved from this area, the task of organizing the parade was assumed by other neighbors. Leahman and Sandra Bryant are the current co-chairmen, and they are especially encouraging people to bring their children and grandchildren to the parade.
Through the years, adults who spent their childhood in this neighborhood now return — some from the Dallas metroplex and some from out of state — to take part in the event.
Those residents who do not actually walk the parade route often sit in lawn chairs and wave at marcher as they pass by.
Everyone is invited to march, drive the route or just come by to watch, whether or not they are residents of this area.