There's a new person in charge of Hereford's Independence Day parade and fireworks on June 29, and she hopes to strengthen an already popular annual event.
Hannah Cavey, 23, took over the parade president's job held by Leslie Pachol since 2006. Pachol organized the first parade that year as a way to honor Norman Anderson and Joshua Snyder, two Hereford High School graduates who were killed in Iraq in the fall of 2005.
"I knew it was time to have someone new, and the parade board is thrilled with Hannah," Pachol said. "She has new ideas and lots of energy."
Cavey, a 2008 Hereford High School graduate who works at her family's North Central Insurance agency in Hereford, had been on the parade board for several years.
"I have a really good blueprint to follow," she said, pointing to a big white binder Pachol gave her. "I never really saw the whole parade since I was mostly organizing the festival at the high school, but I have a lot of ideas."
She has added a parade grand marshal. Erika Brannock, injured in the Boston Marathon bombing last year, has agreed to lead the parade. Brannock's mother lives in Monkton and Brannock worked at Graul's Market part time.
Cavey also added two small grandstands where announcers will introduce each float. In the past, the only introductions came from the judges' stand on York Road. This way, folks near the start of the parade on Mount Carmel Road and those further north on York Road will learn about the floats that pass by.
The parade board is looking for more groups or businesses to join the parade. There is no fee to be in the parade and local churches, nonprofits, businesses and Scout troops have joined in the past.
Groups don't have to have a float, but can walk with a banner or even ride in the back of a truck.
Board member John Mays has lined up three bands to march in the parade, and he would like to have more.
"It's been hard because school is out by parade time," he said.
Mays said bands not associated with schools are expensive, but can be hired if the local community donates money to the parade.
A new activity this year is a dog costume contest to be held at 3:30 p.m. on a vacant lot next door to Carter's Jewelry and Hereford Driving School.
The main festivities on June 29 are in three parts. The parade begins at 6 p.m. and goes from Mount Carmel Road at Interstate 83 to Hereford High School. A festival at the school after the parade includes music and food. After dusk, fireworks are set off from a field next to the school.
Cavey has beefed up the festival at the high school. Disk jockey Joe Socha will play music and Cavey is looking for a band that plays patriotic and/or country music to play at the festival, too. She hopes to add games and activities for children.
Food will be sold at the school and at the stadium's concession stand.
Parade board member Mark Gardner said the parking lot to the south of the high school will be off limits because of ongoing construction. People may park at the new lot behind the tennis courts.
Cavey estimates the day's events will cost around $14,000. Parade organizers will be collecting donations at Graul's Market in Hereford on June 13 and 14 and on June 29, too.
"The fireworks are awesome. They're the best I've ever seen, but they come at a price," she said.