July 10, 2013 —
We have had a successful and amazing homecoming event for 2013! When many surrounding communities have moved away from offering fireworks for local celebrations, or decided to cancel those events due to rain or questionable weather, the City of Olive Hill and Olive Hill Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as many community partners, committed to and completed our Fourth of July activities!
We started with the Window Display Contest on June 28, managed by Linda Lowe and her committee of volunteers, to the many events sponsored by our local churches on Saturday, June 29, including the free pancake breakfast at First Christian Church, the blessings of the animals at the Olive Hill United Methodist Church, and the opening prayer before the parade by Pastor Dave Logston from First Baptist Church.
We had all of the FREEDOM LIFT activities at the Historic Depot building managed by All Things Ministries, who is a tremendous partner of the Chamber with these community themed events! These included a dunking booth and eating contest for the fun and enjoyment of all ages, as well as live entertainment from 6 local Ministry groups: EXIT 161; G.A.T.T. Stick, Sign and Drama Teams; Crosswalk; New Mercies, Madison Harris, Sean Harris; Divine Destiny; and New Life Victory. The eating contents were fueled by donations from some local businesses, Tyler’s Pizza, Save-A-Lot, Cash Express, Subway, McDonald’s, and Mama Hazel’s Bakery. All of these activities were geared to receiving donations to support two local projects, the Widow’s Home Repair Fund as well as the I-Farm Project Fund.
We also had free inflatables at the Historic Depot, provided by donations from Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy, Carter County Sheriff Casey Brammell, and County Attorney Patrick Flannery. Carter Caves brought their squeezebox in for everyone to try their luck and get an idea what it’s like to go ‘spelunking’ through their amazing caves located right here in our backyard, and Owens Insurance Agency brought the Nationwide NASCAR official show car and simulator to town, allowing everyone an up close and personal look at a real race car.
Anita Roe had some tremendous help from the City of Olive Hill and Julie Lewis at Grayson RECC in organizing the 1st Annual Olive Hill Homecoming Quilt Show, showcasing 46 quilts inside the Depot, with a great amount of traffic flowing through the facility. We all enjoyed seeing the end result of the amazing skill and hard work of many of our local quilters.
Madison Harris did a fabulous job singing the National Anthem at the start of the parade. The parade itself was organized by John Steagall of John’s Garage and his team of workers, and it was one of the biggest in recent memory, having a great many floats, individual businesses, fire departments, beauty queens, ball teams, civic groups and our horse contingent as well! We had some local celebrities that participated in the parade, starting with our Grand Marshall Dr. Paul Lewis, and including Meteorologist Tony Cavalier, Rep. Jill York, Sen. Robin Webb, Rep. Rocky Adkins, Sheriff Casey Brammell, Carter County Judge Executive Charles Wallace, Olive Hill Fire Chief Wes Gilliam and Olive Hill Police Chief Bobby Hall.
We had many vendors setup during the parade, with a successful selling event for them, as many have given praise as it’s the best they’ve done at an Olive Hill Parade event in years. These vendors stayed through Thursday night, when we had music by Southern Rail Band, sponsored by JD & Debbie Rayburn of Scenic Hills Realty, and an amazing fireworks display made possible by the members of the Olive Hill Area Chamber of Commerce, and it’s co-presenters The Commercial Bank of Grayson and Architectural Planning & Design, Inc., and a special GRAND FINALE sponsored by State Rep.Jill York.
The town, and specifically the Depot area, was packed with residents, visitors from other towns, and those coming back home for reunions or just to participate in the many Homecoming activities from Saturday to Thursday. There were few places to park during the events, you could hardly move without bumping into someone, and there were groups and vendors on every street selling their products! That was all terrific for our little town! We received feedback that it was a fun and successful slate of events for our town, that most everyone was pleased with the format of the activities, and we have people that are already excited with getting started with planning for next years events!
The Olive Hill Area Chamber of Commerce would like to offer thanks to all of our members that helped or sponsored activities, the many groups that were involved in the planning and implementation of this amazing event, and especially Mayor Fankell, the Olive Hill City Council, and the many City employees for the many hours preparing, cleaning up, and all of the effort they made to make this event possible for our town. The Chamber is invested in not only supporting our growing business community in our town, but also supporting the residents of our City and the many area communities that support us.
Curtis Owens, President
Olive Hill Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc.