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Hotdogs, picnics, hot weather, cold drinks and good times with friends – all of those are parts of most people’s Labor Day celebrations, and in Shelby County, Waddy and downtown Shelbyville will be the happening places on Monday.
And as hot as those spots are, the entire county is going to be hot as well this weekend – though it may cool in time for Monday’s fun.
Officials say they are always cognizant of the weather – always a factor in such highly attended outdoor community activities – and are ready in case the heat becomes too much for anyone.
“We keep track of the weather, and we will have crews in the area; we’re always ready for that type of situation,” said Assistant Shelby County Fire Chief Jeff Ivers.
The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is for highs in the low 90s with severe heat index, but for Labor Day the current forecast is 85 degrees and a 30 percent chance of rain, which is close to the average Labor Day temperature of 86, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last year, it was 83 degrees on Labor Day.
That should work well in Waddy, where the festivities will kick off, as usual, with a community breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at the Ruritan Club building, followed by the fun run at 8 a.m.
Parade chairman Don Dott said the annual parade, the main attraction, will start at 11 a.m. and there will be live music from 11:30 to 12:30 and from 1:30 “for as long as they want to play.”
There will be a pedal pull at noon, and Kac Newton will conduct an auction at 1 p.m., followed by a corn hole tournament at 2 p.m.
Dott said in addition to the usual holiday food – hotdogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, fish sandwiches and potato wedges – there will be some new things.
“We’re going to have some vendors on the grounds and there might be some vendors selling some crafts or wares,” he said. “We’re seeing how it goes this year, and hopefully, if it does well, we’ll repeat it again next year.”
Dott said the parade promises to be a good one, with a large assortment of floats, marchers and of course, lots of fire trucks, though he urges people to bring their horses to join in the procession.
“We hope to have a lot of horse riders,” he said. “Last year our numbers were down some, it just sort of fluctuates. Years ago, when the saddle club was getting started, I bet we had fifty-plus horse riders.”
Not only horseback riders, but everyone is welcome to join the parade, he said.
“It’s open to anybody, but we don’t allow four-wheelers because there was an accident some years back,” he said. “If somebody wants to put together a float and enter it, that’s fine. They just have to show up at the fire department grounds and get in line.”
The grand marshal will be a surprise guest who was a former University of Kentucky basketball star, he said.
Tex Selph, pastor of Waddy Baptist Church, said his church’s float will be a big production this year, as usual.
“Our float will be a reproduction of the front of the church with a cross on top,” he said. “Last year we had people sitting in pews [on the float], but I don’t know what the theme will be this year. Our youth director, Scott Nation has been working on that. Several of the churches in town will have floats.”
Nation said this year’s float theme will be “God and Country.”
“We chose a patriotic theme because we believe that what keeps Waddy a strong community is that we have a lot of people here who really care about God and their country,” he said. “We have four churches, a good fire department and a lot of good people.”
Selph said he likes everything about Waddy’s Labor Day festival, but his favorite pastime is just checking out what people have brought for sale.
“I always enjoy the community yard sales and bake sales,” he said. “And if it’s an election year, there’s usually a politician or two running around. We usually have a good turnout and a really good time.”
The Martinsville celebration, wasn’t part of Labor Day until last year, and the event was so well received in 2012 that festival organizers have planned it that way this year also, they said.
The parade will step off at 11 a.m., starting out from First Baptist Church Shelbyville on Midland Trail and continuing down to 5th and Main streets. Anyone interesting in joining the parade may do so by 10:30 a.m., said Janice Harris, one of the festival organizers.
“We had several churches involved last year and hope to have them back again this year,” she said. “And then we will have the booths set up in Martinsville like we had last year. Any person that wants to set up a booth is welcome. There is no fee. It’s just a community day.”
Other events will follow the parade, with activities on Martin Luther King Street (North 10th Street) until 7 p.m., she said.
“We will have live music throughout the day,” she said. “Last year we had a band. I don’t know if we’ll have that this year, but we have several choirs lined up to sing, and we’ll also have a street festival. Every church that we contacted is planning to attend.”
Harris said festival planners have high hopes for this second annual event.
“We had a good one last year; we had a good crowd, even though it rained,” she said. “But everybody enjoyed themselves, and a great number of people came out.
“Last year was the first time that we did Labor Day and Martinsville Day together. We used to do Martinsville Day at the end of September and now we’ve been trying to combine the events, and I think it’s worked out better.”
Harris said she encourages people to hold the theme of the festival – A United Community – close to their hearts.
“When you have that, you have more helping hands,” she said.