Everyone loves a parade, but the people in Summerfield really love their Founder’s Day Parade. And they’re looking forward to a lot of sights and sounds and excitement on Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. when things get underway in Summerfield – a small town with a big parade each and every year.
A whole lot of work goes into the popular Summerfield tradition and no one knows that better than the perennial parade organizer, Summerfield Town Councilmember Reece Walker, and the team of dedicated volunteers who are helping to put on the highly popular event this year.
Summerfield has been a town divided for the past two years – divided over the fate of former Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck, divided over the rate of development, divided over the mayor, and much more. However, the day of the parade is one day of the year when citizens can all come out together and enjoy the marching bands, decked-out vehicles and Shiners in tiny cars.
The joke last year at the town’s 2018 Founder’s Day Parade was that residents who were members of one political faction in Summerfield stood on one side of the road while members of the other stood on the opposite side, but that divisiveness on parade day was largely exaggerated and everyone seemed to get along fine.
Walker, who’s been organizing the parade for years, said it’s in his family’s blood.
“A lot of people don’t know this but my grandfather used to organize it,” Walker said.
The town’s Founder’s Day Parade started soon after Summerfield was incorporated in the mid-‘90s. That first parade was a small event. However, over the past quarter of a century, the parade has grown into a large spectacle and a festival.
“Our secret is that we let everybody in and we invite everybody,” Walker said.
He said that if you can get a baseball team or a cheerleading squad or a charter academy booked in the event then the parents and grandparents of those kids will come out.
Walker said that the parade team has about 50 volunteers who help run the event and he added that some of the popular participants include a man with a large mechanical eagle on his truck and a large rock-quarry vehicle.
The Guilford County commissioners talked up the Summerfield Founder’s Day Parade at their Thursday, May 16 meeting and some county commissioners will be riding in it.
Several years ago, the Greensboro Holiday Parade started a ban on throwing candy from vehicles so that little children wouldn’t run out into the road and get run over. In the Summerfield parade, participants can still throw candy from the vehicles to their heart’s content.
Walker said he doesn’t worry about that so much – he said his big fear each year comes to him about 8 a.m. on Saturday morning when he panics and thinks that no parade entries will show up
“I start thinking, ‘Did I tell them the right day?’” Walker said.