Letter to the Editor: Fourth of July Parade Chair Addresses Concerns

Debbie Wooley discusses the effort involved in organizing the parade and the need for more volunteers.

Here is my response to concerns regarding Clawson’s Independence Day Parade:

First, I would like to apologize for the “float” that was disrespectful to President Obama. It was not approved to participate, nor did I see it. While we live in a country based on freedom of speech, Clawson’s Independence Day Parade is a celebration of this country, not a protest march. I do not censor our parade participants, but I do insist on family appropriate and family friendly content.

Regarding political entries in the parade; Our Nation is based on “We the People” electing individuals to represent us and we expect those individuals to be visible in our communities. While there is no cost to other participants, political candidates are charged $125 to participate.

The Fourth of July Committee is a non-profit 501(c) organization. Previous year's gate receipts and political contributions fund the celebration. Approximately $18,000 is paid for the fireworks. The parade budget averages $6,000 with all musical entries being paid.

Being a Clawson Marching Band alumnus, I remember the Drum and Bugle Corps competition held the night before the parade. I contacted every Corps in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, some in Illinois and two from Canada. None were willing to participate. The Clawson Marching band has been offered a fee, but at this time, chooses not to participate.

Nothing would make me happier than to have more community groups and businesses participate, build a float, sing a song, or be a clown. Unfortunately, most individuals have become apathetic and do not put time aside for volunteering and community involvement. The same faces are out there getting things done. Remember the fond memories we had building floats? I encourage you to get a group together, barbeque, get to know each other, let creative thoughts flow, build a float.

Many enjoyed the addition of the two balloons this year. Each balloon costs $800 to rent requiring 22 individuals to escort them. Past stilt walkers have charged approximately $1,000. Each year careful consideration has to be given on how to spend the parade budget. Costumes and candy for the clowns are provided. I AM ALWAYS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS.

The tradition of enjoying the Clawson 4th of July festivities since my childhood is what motivates me to volunteer. So that my children, all children can have those fond memories.

The Clawson 4th of July Committee is a volunteer group that meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month to plan the following years' events. I personally extend a heart-felt invitation to all of you to come join us. There are lots of opportunities. Do as much, or as little as you can. Bring your fresh ideas, spirit and run with them. Interested in becoming involved with a long standing Clawson tradition? Please call, we would LOVE to have you join in planning Clawson’s 80th Celebration.

Having been asked why I chair the parade – I ALWAYS say, "if everybody just does a little bit, as a team we can make great things happen."

Debbie Wooley

Clawson Parade Chair



Freda Coughlin July 16, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Clawson is my home and my heart. I have attended and enjoyed the Clawson 4th of July parade since 1961 (with the exception of a couple of years when I resided in Arizona). When I was younger, I participated in the parade with community groups of which I was a member. I, too, have fond memories of building floats and the friendships shared and cultivated. I am ashamed to admit that my active participation has ceased over the years. I sincerely appreciate the effort and time expended by the Clawson 4th of July Committee members, many of whom have served for several years. I commend you for your dedication. Don't beat yourselves up over the lack of volunteers stepping up to share the burden. It is occurring in all volunteer-led organizations, including religious institutions. As Ms. Wooley said, we are becoming apathetic about putting forth the effort to volunteer and/or become an active part of our community. But it doesn't need to be so. Sign me up for whatever I can do to assist. I may have some age-related physical limitations, but my mind is active. Hopefully, my one voice will inspire other "mature" Clawsonites to step up and demonstrate that with age comes wisdom and this is the wise thing to do. My children still enjoy the parade, as do my grandchildren. Let's continue to give them fond memories, too. P.S. Thanks for chastising the inappropriate float. I agree. Freda Coughlin
John L. July 16, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Thank you for your dedication to our community & the 4th of July in Clawson. I was very sad to see the negative comments on facebook about the parade. However, I believe that many more enjoyed the parade. To be honest, the only float that disappointed me was the Anti-Obama float. My own political beliefs aside, I felt it that didn't have a place in a hometown parade. I appreciate you addressing it. I thought that the 4th of July parade was wonderful. The new additions were very well-received by everyone that I was sitting with (most Clawson parade goers for well over 30 years). And, I thought that most of the politicians went the extra step to make it "fun"... with cool cars, popsicles, ice cream trucks & a donkey. It is very sad that our high school marching band continues to decline to participate, particularly when they are being offered a payment to do so. And, especially when they are holding an alumni reunion for the Clawson Performing Arts Boosters. Perhaps the parade money could have gone toward the new uniforms they are looking to purchase as well? Showing their own community pride could only help their fundraising. If you don't like it, change it.
Marc Erickson July 29, 2012 at 08:49 AM
Who in the Clawson band refused?They were even offered money, how disrespectful. I will keep that in mind if I ever see them collecting donations.
Steve E July 31, 2012 at 01:02 AM
You have to understand that if the band commits it is more than just a one day commitment. They would have to drill and stay practiced after school is out. They already commit additional weeks of their summer to band camp. Also, some band families would have to rearrange vacation plans so their student would be available on the fourth.


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