Miss Mary’s Children’s Parade

By Bruce Boyer

The 41st annual Miss Mary’s Children’s Parade will be held in the Kernersville town hall courtyard on Saturday, June 29. The event is a “kid’s size proportion” of a patriotic experience for children aged six and younger and their families. The event will include a salute to the American flag, live patriotic music, the crowning of the 4th of July Queen, and a procession around the town hall courtyard. Each child will be presented with their own small American flag and encouraged to come dressed in red, white, and blue. This is a free event to plant the seed of patriotism in the next generation.

Participants will gather in the courtyard in front of town hall at 9:30 AM on June 29. There will be a variety of activities before and after the parade, including the YMCA bounce house, a free craft project, chalk art, lawn games, and opportunities for families to take a family photo at the Kernersville Little Theatre photo frame. The Kernersville Fire Rescue department will display a fire truck and bring their mascot, Sparky, to greet the children.

WXII meteorologist Dylan Hudler will serve as the emcee for this year’s event. Hudler grew up in Kernersville and is a Kernersville resident. The Rotary Club will crown the 4th of July Queen, and local Girl Scout troop 13136 will serve as the flag honor guard and lead the pledge of allegiance. The Queen and an Uncle Sam character will lead the parade around the courtyard, and both will be available for photo opportunities with the children after the event. Tricycles, wagons, and strollers are welcome in the parade.
Children six and younger will receive a free Miss Mary’s Children’s Parade t-shirt and can select a free children’s book. After the procession, children can enjoy a free ice cream from Blue Skies Creamery, and adults can purchase their own ice cream from a wide selection of custom flavors. Bottled water will be available for everyone, and there will be several shade tents and a misting station if the weather is hot. The event will conclude at 11 AM.

The children’s parade has a rich history dating back to 1983. Mary Mullinax, a preschool teacher at the time, excited her students about participating in that year’s 4th of July parade. When one of her students came to school and tearfully said, “We’re too young to be in the town’s parade.” Mary said, “We’ll have our own parade.” Four decades later the children’s parade is still going strong. The Kiwanis Club of Kernersville assumed the leadership of the parade in 1996 and has conducted the event every year since.
The Kiwanis Club works in partnership with several community organizations and businesses. Josh Bondy (American Retirement Counselors) will sing the national anthem and patriotic songs, provide lawn games, and sponsor the free ice cream for the younger children. Girl Scout Troop 13136 is providing a craft project and the Joseph Kerner Chapter of DAR gives each child a small American flag. The local H&R Block office is donating t-shirts for the first 200 children. A memorial gift from the Dean & Carol Piatt family provides the children’s books that will be available for each child. Forsyth Pediatrics is the advertising sponsor, and Low Price Mart provides bottled water.

The event will be held rain or shine. In inclement weather, the ceremonial activities and procession will be held inside the town hall courtroom.

The event has been named the Miss Mary’s Children’s Parade in honor of its founder, Mary Mullinax. As she said 41 years ago, “We’ll have a parade of our own.” Join us.

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