To the Editor,

The Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, Crape Myrtle Council, and city of Waxahachie thank the citizens of Waxahachie, as well as visitors to our city, for participating in the 16th Annual Crape Myrtle Festival held July 3-4.  The festival celebrates our country’s Independence Day and the city of Waxahachie’s distinguished designation by the 75th Texas State Legislature in 1997 as the Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas. We cannot thank State Representative Jim Pitts enough for all of his help in securing the legislation that led to this designation for our city!

Each year a theme for the festival is chosen by the Crape Myrtle Festival Committee.  The theme, again this year, was “Bloomin’ & Boomin’ Bash.” The festival’s tailgate party activities were held on Wednesday, July 3, at the Waxahachie Sports Complex. It is the perfect location for the festival boasting grassy areas, wide-open spaces, lots of parking spaces, bathrooms, and a gentle cooling breeze, especially due to the low 90’s temperature!

The gates of the Waxahachie Sports Complex opened at 5 p.m. to an estimated 2,000-4,000 citizens of our city, as well as visitors, to set up their tents, tables, campers and grills for an extraordinary tailgate party. Once again, Vintage Bank sponsored the tailgate party, as well as the Queen’s Tea. The Ranch Radio, 106.9 FM, sponsored the “Battle of the Bands,” and H-E-B sponsored the fireworks show. This is the15th year that H-E-B has been a vital part of the Crape Myrtle Festival! This year we had many vendors providing food, as well as activities for children.

The bands competing in The Ranch Radio’s “Battle of the Bands” were Mockingbird Station, Saints Eleven, and Sundance Head. Right before the fireworks began, the winner of the Bloomin’ & Boomin’ Bash was announced by Nick Jordan, general manager, of The Ranch Radio. And … the winner, “Sundance Head” will open the Ranch Bash 2013 at Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth in October. Then, at exactly 9:15 p.m., everyone was treated to the fabulous fireworks show sponsored by H-E-B.

The festival continued on Thursday, July 4, with the annual Waxahachie Fourth of July Parade, beginning at 10 a.m. with thousands of citizens lining the entire parade route. The parade was led by Boy Scout Troop 232 with the Waxahachie Police Department and Ellis County Sheriff’s Office. Again, we hosted approximately 85-90 Ellis County veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War who served as our grand marshals. The veterans were proudly positioned on decorated floats, along with their spouses and guests. As they were driven on the parade route, citizens stood, applauded and said “thank you” to these wonderful citizens of our community. The veterans were from the Army, Army Signal Corp, Army Aviation, Air Force, Women’s Army Corp, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Marines. We proudly salute these outstanding Americans!

The parade also featured the city of Waxahachie’s Mayor, John Wray; city councilmen Buck Jordan and Chuck Beatty in an antique trolley; the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce 2013 Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Melissa Ballard, who also shared the designation of the newly crowned 2013 Crape Myrtle Queen along with her King, husband Layne; Susie Braden, Miz Myrtle; the former Crape Myrtle Queens; the Crape Myrtle Council; the Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band; and approximately 75 additional entries.

And, the winners of this year’s Waxahachie Fourth of July Parade by category are:

Auto/Motorcycles/Tractors: 1st, Frank Guy, 2nd, Monte Willoughby, and 3rd, Edward Shivers;

Corporate: 1st, H-E-B, 2nd, KBEC Radio; and 3rd, Renfro Healthcare Center;

Nonprofit: 1st, Ellis county Master Gardeners, 2nd, Christ the King Lutheran church, and 3rd, Lone Star Santas; and

Youth: 1st, Girl Scouts-SU 351, 2nd, WISD Band, and 3rd, Waxahachie Community Theater.

Obviously, it takes a lot of people to pull off an extraordinary event like the Crape Myrtle Festival. One cannot say enough about the fine work of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce staff; the Crape Myrtle Council, the city of Waxahachie; the Waxahachie Convention & Visitors Bureau Director, Laurie Mosley, for all pre and post publicity; weekly KBEC 1390 AM and 106.9 Ranch radio spots, the Waxahachie Daily Light, and the KBEC simulcast during the H-E-B Fireworks Show; and area billboards ... on hand at every Crape Myrtle event ... job well done! We also want to thank all of the committee members who worked tirelessly on the event.

Also, a very special thanks go to our wonderful fire department, as well as public works department, who both came to the rescue of assisting in putting the cover for the top of the stage back on after it was nearly blown off due to a gust of wind. This unusual event took place about 2 p.m. on July 3. When Waxahachie Fire Chief Ricky Boyd was contacted about needing help with the cover, he immediately sent a fire engine to the sports complex.  John Smith, director of the parks and recreation department for the city, also contacted the public works department to send its new bucket truck to assist the fire department.  It was an incredible sight to see our city departments working together so that the festival would be able to start on time with everything in order. So, please let these departments know how much they are appreciated in our city!

Other important contributors to the tailgate party, Battle of the Bands, and fireworks who are due many thanks are: Dr. Robert P. and Pam Roye of the Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center; the Waxahachie Police Department, the Waxahachie Fire Department; John Smith, James Villarreal, and the great staff of the Waxahachie Sports Complex and parks department for preparing the grounds for the event; Ricky Boyd, fire chief and Randall Potter, assistant fire chief, and their team for handling the fireworks show; the Crape Myrtle Festival Committee members; Citizens National Bank of Texas for providing the use of its bucket truck with the help of Newell Sink and Gary Busby in decorating the concert stage, and the chamber board, staff, and members who attended and supported the event.

The Waxahachie Fourth of July parade was outstanding due to the special parade committee consisting of David Hudgins, Melissa Ballard, John Smith and Ferne Lyle who organized and managed the line-up of all of the parade participants. This is a huge undertaking every year and this committee does an incredible job! Also, on hand to help with the parade were Laurie Mosley, Debra Wakeland, president and CEO of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, and chamber staff Karen Maxwell, Lajuanda Holder and Randall Chase, as well as volunteers John McNiel, Katherine Sirchia and Janet Magee and the event judges Jeanie and Harold Blake, along with Waxahachie Postmaster Claudia James … fantastic job!

Also, a big thank you to the First Baptist Church, under the direction of Dan McClinton, Carol Calvert and members of the Military Ministry Team who provided breakfast for all of the veterans before the parade began, as well as Perry Giles for providing and coordinating all of the transportation for the veterans. There were approximately 85-90 veterans and others totaling 140 people who attended the breakfast. Many of these people, including the Patriot Guard Riders and Boy Scouts of America, assisted in loading the Veterans onto seven trailers, along with their drivers, one bus from the Brown Street Church of Christ, one people-mover from the First Baptist Church, and one bus from the Waxahachie Independent School District. Also, Ray Morgan handled the transportation for double amputee veteran John Wetherell and his wife for the breakfast and parade. WOW! Words cannot express how wonderful it is to see people so kind-hearted in our historic city who volunteer their time and talents to help those who helped all of us be assured of freedom in our city, state, and country. Veterans, we love you and your families and we are blessed by your service! And, a special thank you goes to an Ennis Vietnam veteran who emailed Perry Giles this note: “Just wanted to tell you that Waxahachie is 5 stars to me, what a great parade for the veterans. Unbelievable! This is the welcome all Vietnam vets should have got and all vets, too. Wow! Will be there every year now.”

And, special thanks to Carlisle Chevrolet for providing the automobile for the Mayor of Waxahachie, as well as additional cars and staff; Wayne Eiland for providing the trolley for city councilmen, Bob Guest and Dwight Pogue for providing the “Route 66” transportation for the former Crape Myrtle Queens: Dinah Weable, Beverly Worthington, Teresa McNiel, Shirley Williams, Carol Farrar and Bonney Ramsey; Beverly Worthington for providing the automobile for Susie Braden, Miz Myrtle; and, Jane Hamilton for providing her fabulous 1950 vintage green Ford truck for the Crape Myrtle Council: Nancy Hightower, Laura Sanders, Patsy Major and Jane Hamilton. A special thank you to Chelsi Frazier, Nanette Paghi and Peggy Loftis who decorated the former Queens’ transportation, as well as the 2013 Crape Myrtle King and Queen’s car with such elegance and beauty! A parade would be nothing without a band … thank you, Rich Armstrong and the fantastic Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band, and all of the participants in the parade.  nd, many thanks to Citizens National Bank of Texas for sponsoring the ribbons for winners of the Waxahachie Fourth of July Parade.

Again this year Remedy Church provided free hot dogs and bottled water for all parade participants as it ended at Getzendaner Park.  And, the Chautauqua Preservation Society held a special concert in the park featuring Waxahachie native Brandon Bolin.

We also want to thank the Waxahachie Daily Light and its staff, in particular, Melissa Cade, Aaron Schwaderer, Mallory Pratt and Scott Dorsett for providing outstanding and exceptional newspaper coverage of the Crape Myrtle Festival and its events. The many articles and photographs published painted a “picture perfect” image of the entire festival.

The 2013 Crape Myrtle Festival was, once again, a huge success because of the unselfish efforts of so many people, as well as the participation of all individuals and families who supported and attended this event. Please make plans for next year’s Crape Myrtle Festival!

Bonney Ramsey, Chair

2013 Crape Myrtle Festival