In its eighth year, Mount Sterling’s annual July 4 celebration is moving right downtown.
Annie Tomlinson, director of the Mt. Sterling Community Center, which hosts the event, said there is a higher level of visibility downtown. Also placing the carnival rides on the paved streets provides more stability and lessens the likelihood of muddy trekking, in the event of rain.
The festival takes place Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28.
Downtown Friday events include:
• Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker contest, 5:30 p.m. at the gazebo
• Bicycle decorating contest, 6:30 p.m.
• Bluegrass boys band, 8 p.m.
• Carnival rides, all day
• Cruise-In Car Show, 9 a.m. start
• Silent Auction in Town Hall, 10 a.m. start. It will include the patriotic quilt created by Sew Social of the community center.
• Tim Omark band, 7 p.m. start
Other events will be held at the center or on Veteran’s Field. Check website for additional times and locations.
A parade will be held with step-off at 11 a.m. formation at 10 a.m. on Veterans Field.
In that parade will be the two grand marshals: Jean Bragg and Robin Moots. They will be riding in a red convertible with Bob Arbogast at the wheel.
Bragg has been a long-time resident of the village. She sits cozy in her efficient tidy apartment she chose following a downsize move. She’s looking forward to the top-down cruise down the main streets of the village — weather permitting.
She has served others in her life of 92 years in a number of ways. Other than being a wife to Theodore and mother to sons, John, 65, and Bill, 60, Bragg played the organ in the methodist church for 60 years.
She began playing piano at age 10, “never thinking I’d be an organist,” she said.
But after the church received a donation of a Hammond organ, the minister’s wife, also an organist, taught Jean to play. She said it’s much harder.
“I had to learn to play with my feet,” she said.
She also put one foot to the accelerator as she delivered meals on wheels and volunteered at Madison County Hospital.
Robin Moots came to the Mount Sterling area 39 years ago with her mother, Joy Stroup, when she came from Circleville to manage the L&K restaurant on state Route 56 at I-71.
Moots continues to serve — breakfast and lunch — to her devoted cadre of customers at Ben and Joy’s in downtown Mount Sterling. They not only receive a smile from her, but often a hug.
Her vibrant sense of humor erupted when asked how it felt to be one of the grand marshals for this year’s parade.
“Oh, they probably asked 30 other people and they all turned them down. So let’s ask Robin, she’ll do anything,” she said with a laugh.
But no, she accepted right away, said Annie Tomlinson, who asked only two people: the aforementioned.
Despite numerous challenges in her life — the death of her husband, Paul, and a head-on collision with serious injuries — Moots’ positive, spirit-based attitude shines through.
“We got through them by the grace of God,” she said.
Her cadre of friends surround her with love as well.
“They’ve helped me through a whole lot,” Moots said.
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1617 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.