15K+ expected in Florala

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thousands are expected today in Florala for June 24th events.

Thousands are expected to arrive in Florala today to celebrate this year’s 141st consecutive annual June 24th Masonic Celebration.

Mayor Robert Williamson said preliminary estimates put the crowds between 15,000 to 20,000 on the culmination of oldest consecutive Masonic event in the nation.

“Of course, that’s a wild guess,” Williamson said of the number. “But that is what I have heard.”

That estimate could be attributed to the number of Masons and Shriners who travel to Florala from all parts of the U.S. to participate in the day’s events.

“There are so many things that draw people to Florala on the Saturday event,” Williamson said. “There’s the arts and crafts at (Lake Jackson). There’s the parade, the car shows; there’s truly something for everyone here.”

Highlight events include the parade, which is set to head downhill on Fifth Avenue at 11 a.m.; the annual installation of Masonic officers at the Lodge at noon; arts and crafts at Lake Jackson and fireworks at 9 p.m.

“This year, there’s another street dance at 9 p.m. on Fourth Street, which is nice,” he said. “It’s really just a great day to come an experience Florala.

“I would even go so far as to say that you could call it the biggest family reunion in the county,” he said. “People wait all year long to meet in Florala and see everyone else who comes for the day.”

Florala Police chief Sonny Bedsole said he hopes the day is a safe one for residents and guests alike.

He asked that people remember that the use of ATVs and golf carts during the day is strictly prohibited.

“In years past, residents have used the motorized vehicles to navigate crowded city streets, but not this year,” Bedsole said. “The practice of operating golf carts and ATVs on city streets and highways is illegal.

“But, if someone wants to use one in the parade, that’s fine,” he said. “But riding around on the streets throughout the day, it won’t be permitted. If you’re caught, citations will be used.”