On July 4, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church and the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce will hold their seventh annual Children’s Fourth of July Parade and Ceremony
The event was created seven years ago by Millsboro resident Dot LeCates, after her vision of a labyrinth became a reality in the town.
“The labyrinth came into existence in 2006. It was kind of my idea to have an ecumenical prayer circle, a meditation circle. It’s universal — you don’t have to be religious, you don’t even have to be spiritual. The circle is a circle of unity,” she explained. “The people from the community built that. It was built for the community. It’s just a walking meditation and prayer.
“When we dedicated it, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat to have kids riding around and having a joyous time?’ So we’ve had a parade ever since.”
In years past, the ceremony has been themed to honor those who served in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. This year, LeCates chose to celebrate and honor women.
“This year, we’re going to honor the women. Not just commissioned women, but women all the way down to the little girls, so that we can be an inspiration as they grow up to be great women. We’ve had a lady mayor, we’ve had a lady governor, lady police, lady doctors,” said LeCates.
“This year we chose women because they’re always behind the scene and we’ve never singled out the women who have served as commissioned officers, served as nurses in the wars. They’ve always offered comfort and support to our patriotic figures, and they’re still doing that within our community.”
Those who wish to participate in the parade should meet at the labyrinth at Saint Mark’s at 10 a.m. for a short ceremony, followed by a walk to Cupola Park.
“We’ll start with a little parade and a rat-a-tat drum, and Cathy Gorman will sing our national anthem, and all of our little girls up to the older ladies will march in around the labyrinth. We will honor our ladies all the way from our Daisies to the oldest Girl Scout.
“Then we will march two blocks down to Cupola Park, and the mayor will give out trophies and prizes to the Best of Show, the Best Dog. Oh — they get painted red, white and blue and everything,” said LeCates with a laugh. “I usually bring up the tail of the parade on my old tricycle.”
The parade does not allow for any motorized vehicles, excluding wheelchairs, but welcomes wagons, bicycles, tricycles and all things red, white and blue.
“The women from the auxiliary for the American Legion Post #24 give every child in the parade an American flag to wave,” she said. “Last year, we had a little girl who was the Statue of Liberty and her dad pulled her in a wagon all the way down to the park. We’ve had Betsy Ross. The kids love it. I love it.”
LeCates said the parade has grown over the years, from 38 participants to nearly 100.
She added that she believes patriotism is something to be valued, and that it’s never too early to start teaching children about its importance.
“It does my heart good to think about patriotism in our little town,” said LeCates. “I think patriotism starts at home… We grow up with it. I don’t think it’s ever too young to start, to call it patriotism and to be a part of it, and to recognize that children need that kind of thing from home as well as from school.
“I think, in a little town, in a small setting, we can do those things that are meaningful to us, and honoring our women is part of that glory.”
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church is located at the corner of State and Ellis streets in downtown Millsboro. For more information on the parade, call the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce at (302) 934-6777.