RED OAK – The community turned out Saturday to celebrate this year’s Founder’s Day, which had a theme of “Past, Present and Future.”

This was the 33rd annual event and the second year for the Red Oak Chamber of Commerce and city to join in with Red Oak ISD.

Joining with the school district has helped with the success of the celebration, chamber president Shelley Oglesby said.

“By combining the homecoming festivities, the city’s heritage and history celebration began Friday afternoon with a gathering of alumni and continued with the many events scheduled for Saturday,” she said.

On Saturday morning, the Founder’s Day events kicked off with a 5K run followed by the traditional parade that began at the football stadium and wound around the new high school campus.

This year’s grand marshal was Red Oak Mayor Alan Hugley.

This year’s parade was much larger than years past, with close to 90 entries that included such participants as state Rep. Jim Pitts, several veterans of the Korean War and World War II and Dr. Mark Stanfill representing the Red Oak Alumni Association.

The Best Theme award went to Milton McFeron while the top prize for a school district entry went to Red Oak Elementary. The grand prize was awarded to Red Oak Future Farmers of America. Many of the floats were from the district’s schools and administration.

After the parade concluded, the school’s band, drill team, cheerleaders and other performers that included dance schools and other groups entertained an estimated 5,000 visitors in attendance.

Churches and civic groups were among the many booths set up, using the opportunity to hold fundraisers for their organizations. Among them was the Red Oak United Methodist Men’s Group.

Serving up hot sausage on a stick, John Young said his group supports many local civic organizations such as boy scouts, as well as helping with disaster relief and other community support functions.

The Red Oak branch of Citizens National Bank served up popcorn and lemonade. Led by Nanette Paghi, employees served up the treats while receiving donations to raise money for a Red Oak animal buyback program for the Future Farmers members who will show in the spring youth expo. 

There also were numerous individuals selling homemade craft items, including metal works of art, candles and hand sewn home accessories among the booths lining the parking lot.

The vendors weren’t limited to those from Red Oak and Ellis County as many traveled from Dallas, Fort Worth and outside the Metroplex to attend.

“Every year we have grown by mostly word of mouth from past vendors that have attended,” Oglesby said.

Thanking those who helped with the day’s events, Oglesby said, “Our volunteers were a great deal of support. Since joining in with the city and school district, we became a team of one to make it happen.”

Hugley said he was very pleased with the turnout.

“This is one of the largest turnouts I’ve seen,” he said. “The weather was perfect; it’s a great day.”