It’s time for the 12th annual Spangle Dangle event in Johnson City. According to Spangle Dangle organizer, Dale Hardy, this year is going to be the most exciting two day event yet.
Mostly it’s about the sounds, a breeze whipping the flags around the Blanco County courthouse, and the whistle and pop of backyard pyrotechnics, which usher in the annual commotion of small-town excitement served up American-style in Johnson City.
Folks come from around the area to fill up on a large helping of that small-town flavor. Our local Spangle Dangle Celebration is a present-day revival of what makes this country great — a reunion for all of us who hold dear the pure pleasures of a simpler time, community spirit and tasty goodness that is deep fried.
Vendors strategically place themselves around the Blanco County fairgrounds offering their various samples of Americana ranging from steamy hot dogs, and the always classic hamburgers with fries. There will also be other crowd favorites, such as smoked corn and steak on a stick, cherry snow cones and billows of cotton candy, which drive parents to spit on napkins and wipe sticky, pink residue from children’s faces.
It is important to note that no ice chests are permitted at the fairgrounds during the festivities this year.
One can already hear the squeak and crunch of folding chairs being set up on gravel as parade-goers find their preferred viewing spots – some folks claim their same spot year after year as part of their family tradition. This year the Spangle Dangle 2014 Fourth of July Parade will take place on Saturday, July 5th at 10 am.
Parade participants will begin setting up at 9 am on Pecan Street in front of the First United Methodist Church of Johnson City. At 10 am, the forward-ho will cry out, as the floats make their way along the parade route. The route will begin at the corner of LBJ Drive and East Pecan Avenue and then travel west to Nugent Avenue. It will then make a right around the Blanco County Courthouse and then head east on Cypress Street leading back to LBJ Drive.
People will stand and remove their hats as a color guard passes. Engines purr as the classic cars roll by, while proud owners smile and wave to the crowd. The distinctive clatter of hoof-clops will follow, as riders mosey on by via horseback.
Young children will wait in anticipation of the floats coming, especially the ones that throw out candy, and they’ll squeal in delight when some sugary goodness lands at their feet.
The Spangle Dangle parade remains charmingly the same as it has in years past. We wouldn’t have it otherwise — knowing that we have farmers on classic tractors, handmade floats with waving children, and family memories in the making.
For the second year in a row, Spangle Dangle organizer, Dale Hardy, is encouraging kiddos under the age of 18 to dress in a patriotic costume and bring their pets dressed the same way. “If you both dress in your best red, white and blue costume – we’re going to give a trophy for the best dressed kid and pet!” he said. Pets include anything from dogs, cats, pigs, horses, cows, chickens, goats or lambs, or possibly a younger sibling.
Awards will be given to the top three floats, as well as the “Most Patriotic Float,” and the “Most Patriotic Youth/Animal Combo Presentation.”
In order for your float to win a trophy, you can fill out an entry form online prior to the event or you can submit one early that morning before the parade begins. You can get the form from Dale Hardy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the parade, registration will open at 1:00 pm for the annual Washer Pitching Tournament.
Throughout the weekend Trolley Rides will be available for those both young and old between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm. A small donation fee will be required per rider, but the funds will go to support the Spangle Dangle Organization and the Buggy Barn Museum.
As participants pull into the fairgrounds on the evening of the Fourth of July, youngsters will be provided with little American flags to wave around during the traditional fireworks program. The program will begin at approximately 9:15 pm. It will start with a Color Guard presentation, posting of the Colors, Amazing Grace, Pledge of Allegiance, Invocation, Singing of the Star Spangle Banner, followed by another awesome display of fireworks to the tune of patriotic music. The actual pyrotechnic portion of the program was written specifically for the Spangle Dangle celebration.
But the fun doesn’t end just on July fourth. The same fireworks program will repeat on Saturday, July 5th as well.
Since 2008, the Spangle Dangle celebration has always included local bands to perform at these celebrations, and this year is no different. Local country singer/songwriter Scooter Pearce will be performing on July Fourth from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
On Saturday, July 5th, Bobby Beal and his crew will keep the party going from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm as well. There will be other music performers sharing in the fun both nights from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm with breaks in between for the firework shows.
This year the good folks from the Antique Engine and Tractor Pull organization have teamed up with Spangle Dangle and they will be showcasing their medium and small sled pull tractors for an exhibition from 7 pm to 9 pm on Saturday night at the fairgrounds, just before the fireworks program begins.
After the fairgrounds have emptied, and the lawn chairs are stowed, periodic pops and sizzles from diehard firework enthusiasts signal the finish to a perfect weekend. Eventually, we’ll return home and fall asleep, perchance to dream of winning the Washer Pitching Tournament next year.
It’s all a part of what makes living in small town, rural Texas, great.
Happy Independence Day, America.
To learn more information about the Spangle Dangle Celebration in Johnson City, visit their website at www.spangledangle.com.