To the Editor,

The Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, City of Waxahachie, and Crape Myrtle Council are very thankful to the citizens of Waxahachie, as well as all visitors, for participating in the 22nd annual Crape Myrtle Festival held July 3-4, 2019. 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 our now retired State Representative Jim Pitts enough for all of his help in securing the legislation that led to this designation for our city!

The outstanding sponsors for the Crape Myrtle Festival are H-E-B, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie, InterBank, Carlisle Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, & Cadillac, and Citizens National Bank of Texas. Each year a theme for the Festival is chosen by the Crape Myrtle Festival committee. The theme this year was, again, “Pink Petals & Patriotism.” The Festival’s tailgate party activities were held on Wednesday, July 3, at the parking lot of Lumpkins Stadium, instead of the Waxahachie Sports Complex due to reseeding of the soccer fields. We are so appreciative to Dr. Bonny Cain, Superintendent of Waxahachie ISD, for allowing the Festival to be held there.

The patriotic celebration began at 5 p.m. to an estimated 3,000 attendees to set up their tents, tables, campers, and grills for an extraordinary tailgate party. As guests started arriving, they were entertained by Jon Bell of Madness Entertainment. He and Warren Turner got kids and parents up to learn dance moves to some of the newest dance craze songs.

For the third year in a row, The Kid Zone was sponsored with FREE activities for the children to enjoy. Brett Hartsell of First American Party Entertainment brought two bounce houses, two slides, an obstacle course, and a rock climbing wall. Also, Dana Elsom and the Paint Slingers provided artistic balloon designs and face painting for all of the children. There were also a variety of food vendors for families to purchase from in the Food Court, including Events by PJ Panini’s, Dippin Dots, Tommy Jones, Flavor after Flavor, MyTee Sweet Snow Cones, and H-E-B.

Then, at 7:30 p.m., the guests were treated to a concert by “A Hard Night’s Day,” DFW’s premier Beatles tribute band, followed by the H-E-B fireworks show. This is the twenty-first year that H-E-B has been a vital part of the Crape Myrtle Festival! Spectators were encouraged to tune their radio to KBEC 1390 during the fireworks show for a special broadcast of patriotic music.

The Festival celebration continued on Wednesday, July 4, with the annual Fourth of July Parade, beginning at 10 a.m. with hundreds of citizens lining the parade route. The parade was led by members of the Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band, followed by the Mayor of Waxahachie, the 2019 Crape Myrtle Queen and King, the former Crape Myrtle Queens, the Crape Myrtle Council, the Waxahachie Police Department, and the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department. Again, we hosted a little over 100 Ellis County veterans who served as our Grand Marshals. The Ellis County Marines led the veterans who were proudly positioned on decorated floats, along with spouses and guests, and requested to ride at the end of the parade. 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!

As mentioned, the parade featured the Mayor of Waxahachie, David Hill; the newly crowned 2019 Crape Myrtle Queen and King, Pat and David Smith; the former Crape Myrtle Queens: Bonney Ramsey, Shirley Williams, Dinah Weable, Teresa McNiel, Carol Farrar, Melissa Ballard, Cindy Hess, Sylvia Smith, Sherry Dyess, Nancy Hightower, and Winnie O’Donnell; and over 100 additional entries. Of those additional entries, the Waxahachie Indian Band consisted of around 200 members; one entry for all of the veterans, their escorts, and drivers; one entry consisting of all of the equestrian members; and one entry of more than 40 Jeeps, and one entry made up of firetrucks from Waxahachie and surrounding counties. It was a great parade!!

After the parade, Remedy Church hosted “Picnic in the Park” in Getzendaner Park for families, along with free hotdogs (2,600 total), water, snow cones (1,700 total), old fashioned games, raffle drawings, a photo booth, and a bounce house. A “Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby” was held during the picnic. It is important to note that members of Remedy Church passed out 3,700 bags of candy and invite cards as they walked the parade route.

The winners of this year’s Fourth of July Parade by category are Auto/Motorcycles/Tractors: 1st ‒ Ellis County Jeeps, and 2nd ‒ Daniel Smith Scooters; Corporate: 1s t ‒ Daymark Living, 2nd ‒ Focused Care at Waxahachie, and 3rd ‒ Citizens National Bank of Texas; Nonprofit: 1st ‒ Ellis County Republican Party, 2nd ‒ Streets to Sheets Animal Rescue, and 3rd ‒ Nicholas P. Sims Library; Youth: 1st ‒ Pettigrew Academy, 2nd ‒ Dynamo Soccer Team, and 3rd ‒ Heavy Hitters Baseball Team.

Obviously, it takes a lot of people to pull off an extraordinary event like the Crape Myrtle Festival! In fact, it truly “takes a village” with help from the Crape Myrtle Committee members, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, the City of Waxahachie, the Crape Myrtle Council, the Waxahachie Convention & Visitors Bureau Director, Laurie Mosley, for all pre and post publicity; the City of Waxahachie Tourism & Event Manager, Monica Boyd; and, weekly KBEC 1390 AM radio spots and its simulcast during the H-E-B Fireworks Show through the band’s speakers. We also want to thank Katherine Sirchia and Janet McGee of Interbank for the special food/drinks for the Queens and Chamber staff.

Other important contributors to the tailgate party and fireworks show who are due many thanks are: Dr. Robert P. and Pam Roye of the Regional Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, as well as Joe Rust, for the use of their land for the fireworks; Police Chief Wade Goolsby and the Waxahachie Police Department for handling the safety of all guests, Fire Chief Ricky Boyd, Randall Potter, and the Waxahachie Fire Department and their team for handling the fireworks show; Parks & Recreation Director John Smith, James Villarreal, Wally Mendez, Gumaro Martinez and the great staff of the Parks Department for preparing the Lumpkins Stadium parking lot for the event; and Rob Best and Thomas Griffith, Emergency Management Coordinators, for preparing an emergency plan for the Crape Myrtle Festival.

The Fourth of July parade was outstanding due to the special parade committee consisting of John Smith, Monica Boyd, Melissa Ballard, Fire Chief Ricky Boyd, and Thomas Griffith 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, Wally Mendez, Johnny Rowland, Kelly Skistimas, and Judges Charlotte McKibbin, Charlene Hollingsworth, Michele Hampton, and Chelsea Holder.

A big thank you to Central Presbyterian Church and members Gary Loper, Glynn Killough, John Stockman, Priscilla Clore, and Louis and Chris Hauffe for hosting the Veterans in its new Fellowship Park, along with the members of the Military Ministry Team of First Baptist Church, under the direction of Carol Calvert, Nancy Crumpton, and Linda Darnell, who provided the Dan McClinton Veterans Memorial Breakfast for all of the veterans before the parade began. There were veterans and others totaling about 130 people who attended the breakfast. There were many drivers and organizations affiliated with the trucks and trailers for the Veterans, namely, the Ellis County Marines, the Waxahachie Fire Department, Chad Hicks, Donny Mosley, Sierra and Jay Lovell, Ray Martinez, and Wayne Boze. The buses were provided by Waxahachie ISD, the Salvation Army, and Brookdale Waxahachie.

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, sacrifice, and love for our country!

Special thanks, again to our sponsors!! And a special thanks to Tom McAfee for providing the car for the 2019 Crape Myrtle Queen and King, Pat and David Smith; and, Layne Ballard for providing the car for David Hill, Mayor of Waxahachie; and SAGU for providing the golf cart for the former Crape Myrtle Queens. 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.

And, a big thank you to Bryan Wooten and Remedy Church who sponsored “Picnic in the Park.” We also want to thank the Waxahachie Daily Light for putting the Crape Myrtle Parade and Veterans Parade Forms in the newspaper. Many thanks to Joann Livingston of The Waxahachie Sun for coverage of the 2019 Crape Myrtle Queen’s Tea. Also, a big thank you to both newspapers for coverage of the Crape Myrtle Festival. The many articles and photographs published painted a “picture perfect” image of the entire Festival.

The 22nd annual 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…it will be the 23rd year to celebrate!!

Bonney Ramsey, Chair, 22nd Annual Crape Myrtle Festival