Thousands attend annual Masonic celebration

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2010

People came by the thousands to celebrate Florala’s 140th consecutive annual June 24th Masonic celebration and the city’s “Year of the Small Town” event.

The weeklong event culminated Saturday morning with a dedication of the newly constructed On the Square Park and veteran’s memorial, which featured brick markers of the city’s veterans, a fountain and memorial wall. In the center of the memorial, a brick marker was dedicated to Rodney J. Evans, Florala native and Medal of Honor recipient, who was killed in action during the Vietnam War after throwing himself on land mine to save other members of his unit.

Mayor Robert Williamson credited all those responsible for the hard work in completing the monument.

“This moment, this monument could not and would not have been possible without the dedication of everyone involved,” Williamson said. “Today is a great day for the city of Florala and this monument stands as a testament to our love for this city.”

As Councilman Jimmy Waldrop unveiled the city’s new historic marker, local Army soldiers Ethan Fink and Lee Jackson presided over the raising of the flags.

Sue Mathis, park committee member, also thanked all involved for their generous donations and work in making the project a success.

Mathis said memorial bricks will continue to be sold indefinitely. For more information or to purchase, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 334-858-6252.

The festivities continued throughout the day with an 11 a.m. parade, which had more than 30 entries, arts and crafts on the shores of Lake Jackson and an all-day antique car show before ending with a more than hour-long firework show and street dance featuring the High Horse Band at the Florala Farmer’s Market.

“What can I say about the day? It may be the best attendance in recent memory with big crowds for all events,” Williams said. “Hats off to all the organizers.”