The city of Bogalusa was officially born on the fourth of July 1914, and in recent years it’s become known far and wide as a small Southern town with a big patriotic spirit that it demonstrates annually with a parade and fireworks display on the birthday it shares with the USA.
This year, which finds the city in the midst of a revitalization that includes major and ongoing upgrades to its central Cassidy Park, the family-friendly celebrations have been expanded to include a Bike, Wagon and Skate Parade, a Patriotic Hat Contest, Watermelon Eating, Seed Spitting and Biggest Watermelon contests, Horseshoes, Balloon Toss, live music and more at the park between the time of the parade and that of the fireworks.
The Grand Opening of the Deli in the Park will also take place on that day at 11 a.m. and visitors will be able to purchase traditional Fourth of July favorites such as hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and lemonade as well as other items.
Additionally, the Pioneer Museum, with its new porch and classroom, and the Museum of Native American Culture and gift shop will be open.
The Independence Day activities actually start a little early in Bogalusa.
In accordance with local tradition, the Paper Queen pageant will take place at the American Legion Post 24 Home on July 3.
The full day of July 4 events will begin when the Legion-sponsored parade starts its roll through the city from South Columbia Street near East 6th Street at 10 a.m.
This year’s parade theme is “Honoring Our Local Heroes,” and the Parade Marshals will include Capt. Andrew Miller, a company commander who served two tours in Afghanistan and is now stationed at Fort Polk, and James Smith Jr., a 10-year old TARC ambassador and Special Olympics gold medalist.
The park festivities will begin after the parade at 2 p.m., and the city is now looking for local growers to take part in the Largest Washington Parish Watermelon Contest. The six categories include: Jubilee, Summer Flavor, Star Brite, Big Stripe, Yellow Meat and Other.
Category winners will each receive a $100 prize, and the Grand Champion grower will win $200. The melons will be auctioned off after the contest.
Interested growers should contact Judy Gray at 732-4397 for more information.
Anybody who wants to participate in the Bike, Wagon and Skate Parade simply needs to show up with a can of food for the Bogalusa Help Center food bank. There will also be a Hat Contest for the decorated topper deemed the most patriotic. Potential participants are all advised to start planning their adornments.
To further enhance the spirit, there will be live music from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., with Slim and Jim taking the first couple of hours and Louisiana Music Hall of Famer Wardell Williams taking it into the star-spangled evening.
The Bogalusa Fire Department will be on hand throughout the day to offer a cooling sprinkle for anybody who gets too hot, and when the sun goes down, everybody is invited to gather at Lewis Murray Stadium or their own traditional viewing spots nearby to watch the fireworks display, which is scheduled to start at 8:45 p.m.
The city is looking for people who would like to get involved by helping with the activities. Contact Sandy Bloom at 516-3408 or Landon Tims at 516-3870 to volunteer.