Masonic Celebration brings back carnival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For the first time in three years, the Florala Masonic Celebration will feature a carnival event organizers announced Monday.

This year’s weeklong celebration – set for June 19-26 – will mark 140 consecutive years for the event. It is the oldest running Masonic celebration in the U.S. and will kick off the 2010 event with its traditional 5K run on Sat., June 19.

Event chairman Lamar Mitchell said credit for the carnival find goes to committee member Debra Inabinett.

“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Inabinett said. “We got so many comments about the celebration not being the same without the carnival. We tried and tried to find a company that could fit us into their schedule, but it didn’t work out.

“Now, I think people will be very pleased when they hear the news we found someone – I know I sure was,” she said.

And so were other committee members who met Monday to discuss finalizing plans for the celebration.

“We literally beat the Internet to death to try and find someone,” Mitchell said. “This announcement is just tremendous.”

Discussions quickly centered on the pros and cons of possible sites for the W&J Attractions rides.

Suggestions included previous sites such as Fourth Street in front of the volunteer fire department and Lakeshore Boulevard between the Huddle House and Piggly Wiggly, as well as a new site – the Florala Industrial Park.

Inabinett said the owner of the company plans to travel to Florala to the coming days to assist in the site selection process; however, all suggestions are welcome.

Mitchell said he hopes the addition of a carnival will draw a record crowd for 2010. The midway will open Mon., June 21.

The remainder of the week will follow the same format as years past with children’s events, two beauty pageant, children and adults water battles, a gospel sing and street dance. Saturday will feature a parade, arts and crafts, horseshoe tournament, antique car show and fireworks.