When you stand with hundreds of neighbors, friends, family, and fellow citizens as Scout Master Randy Deavers and our Boy Scout Troop #837 carries Old Glory and the flags of honor you get that lump in your throat. You wave with pride at your representatives from the Fire Department (Engine Company #42), Sheriff’s Dept, County Commission, and COPS. You ooh and ahh at the classic cars that have been polished to perfection and bring back special American memories. You cheer for the Geneva kids in the bicycle brigade who spend hours attaching streamers, decals, flags, and more to adorn their bikes.
The Greater Geneva Grande Award Marching Band led by maestro Richard Simonton never fails to please with its spirited patriotic numbers. Did you know this band is open to anyone who plays a musical instrument- you don’t need to live in Geneva- in fact some folks came from the Gulf Coast this year just to be able to play in a parade! Our beloved horse contingent is always a sight to see with riders and horses decked out, some painted, all immaculately groomed as they proudly make their well-behaved way around the parade route.
Everyone anticipates the float contest and this year the Geneva Mens’ Auxiliary won 1st Place with the Geneva Trails Freedom Train billowing steam and playing music. 2nd place went to the Geneva Homemakers Association that has a proud history of wins. We understand there was quite a competition between these two groups so watch out in 2008! Congratulations also to the Geneva Farmers Market that won the non-cash business award for its fine float.
Bob Braun of Resthaven Farms (and fearless leader of the Geneva Farmers Market) summed it up well. “You can’t really describe how special this event is. You just have to be here to believe it.”
If you happened to leave right after the parade, I would encourage you to stay for the festival next year. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Emcee Rich Sloan kept the crowds entertained and informed about all the activities including the horse, bike, and float prizes, the airplane flyovers, special musical solos etc. Kids enjoyed simple outdoor games for all ages in addition to the super soaker enclosure, new this year with squirt guns and hay bales; animal lovers could go on the pony rides, pet the mini horses, pet snakes from the Nature Center, or even meet Sir Gus, the Bahia Shriners’ dromedary. Adults visited and enjoyed the music and when it got too warm they visited the Geneva Museum of History and learned about the fascinating history of our special home. The Geneva Historical Society was also on hand to sign up new members and sell the many books, calendars, and t-shirts related to Geneva’s history. Other activities including face painting, two person saw contest and a 50-50 raffle.
Volunteers worked hard fixing hundreds of delicious hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages topped off with cool drinks and ice cream. Then folks walked off their meal by doing the Cake Walk inside the Community Center with a chance to win one of the forty homemade cakes prepared by the Geneva Homemakers. This year you can buy a CD with nearly 200 photos of the 2007 4th of July event. $5 if you pick it up in Geneva or $7.50 if it is mailed-call Jessie Harrelson 407-349-5112. Proceeds from the CD will be used to purchase American and State of Florida flags to be flown at the Community Center for special occasions.
Another year of amazing volunteers, great planning, and as Imogene Yarborough says, “Continuity!” If you are new to Geneva, consider joining the Geneva Citizens Association. It is over 100 years old and the only real representation that the Village of Geneva has in the county. This event is the GCA’s primary fundraiser that pays of all the expenses and improvements associated with the Community Center.
Geneva Citizens Association President Dick Creedon had this to say about the event:
“It is not only the American Spirit that is thriving here but something very special and even beyond that.....a real camaraderie, a genuine caring for one’s friend and neighbor, a willingness to put others first for the benefit of the Village, a lack of complaining about too much or hard work which benefits others and the community at large......... I truly believe that the hand of God covered our Village with a VERY large tent to protect us from the rain when the planes couldn’t take off from Spruce Creek because of flooding and Chuluota got about 3” of rain.........we truly were the Island of Geneva under that special tent.”
We thank Dick for his leadership and the many committee leaders and members as well as their families who gave of their time and talent to make the event possible. This is a precious gift you give to us and to our children. You make Geneva proud. You make America proud.
Next week: Tribute to Deputy Eugene “Stetson” Gregory
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