July 11, 2002
There were more bicycles than horses in the July 4 parade this year, a result of temperatures that were in the 90s but also an indication of change in the ratio of pasture acres to front lawns in Great Falls.
The Great Falls Horse Center, which sponsored a unit of 10 to 12 horses in the parade in years past, closed last fall. Nor were any Pony Clubs represented.
The only two horses in the parade came from Lift Me Up therapeutic riding service. There were some 300 bicycles, estimated Margaret Johnson, who owned the Horse Center and was in charge of the parade.
There were also antique cars, including a 1931 Model A Ford, and two fire trucks, one of them an antique operated by Brogue Charities.
Another Model A Ford was involved in a minor collision near the intersection of Columbine and Golden Arrow Street.
"It was hot but it was nice. The old car didn't boil over at all," said Floyd Rose, who was driving a green 1938 Ford convertible.
Another antique car was struck and its left rear fender was damaged before the parade began.
Volunteers and professional firefighters from Company 12, Fairfax County's Fire and Rescue station in Great Falls, got applause as they drove by in a fire engine and ambulance.
A red jeep was Thelma's Ice Cream's entry in the parade.
"EVERY YEAR we do it, we know there is something we can do better," Johnson said, referring to the evolution of the parade.
She is a member of Great Falls Friends, which resumed sponsorship of the traditional parade in the late 1980s after a hiatus of about 20 years.
"The people who come out and work are just the nicest people," she said. "They do everything without complaining. That is what makes it fun to do this; the nice people who are out there and helping," Johnson said.
She referred to Great Falls Lion Bob Mickert, who was in charge of antique cars and horses, and Glen Sjoblom, who directed the floats that gathered at signs placed by Johnson. Jan Hill was in charge of the walkers in the parade, and Connie Sawtell directed staging of the bicycles.
Allison Mulligan of the Great Falls Library was the chairman of the July 4 celebration.
A FLOAT with a golden eagle designed by Jan Hill was the Great Falls Friends' entry in the parade. The Great Falls Optimists also had a float, lined with hay bales. Great Falls Friends President Anna Krell and members Helen Lerner and Janet and Mark Servis decorated the float with Jan and Tim Hill and
Bill Sansome from Falls Hardware and his wife worked on the Optimists float, also staged at the Great Falls Horse Center.
The July 4 parade was originally sponsored by the Great Falls Volunteer Fire Department, which also sponsored fireworks at what is now Hickory Vale, west of Village Centre, and the parade through town.
In 1997, Brogue Charities began the fireworks again, moving the display to The Turner Farm. The farm became a park with the bond referendum of 1998, and Brogue Charities has provided fireworks four of the last five years: 1999, 2000, 2001 and this year.
"I am afraid this town expects it [as though] we all have money, and they should get it for nothing," said Johnson good-naturedly voicing a common complaint among the old-timers.
Janet Servis, Anna Krell, and Helen Lerner did the tent.
The Quintessential Brass Quintet provided the music, playing from the bed of the Brogue Charities Fire Truck. They are professional musicians who charge $750 for a band of five.
Stuart Mendelsohn, Dranesville District Supervisor
Great Falls Indian Guides, Sioux Tribe
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, Paul Gilbert
Great Falls Friends, Jan Hill, Helen Lerner, Janet Servis
Four Stairs Farm, Gary Simanson, Trecia Knapp
Optimist Club, Bill Sampson
Hickory Vale Farm, Ken Stephens
BOWA Builders, Josh Baker, Angie Smith
Thelma's Ice Cream, Chris Grindler, Doris Carpenter