August 07, 2013 - Saturday's "Celebrate Lone Ranger" parade and festival were absolutely perfect.
It's been a long time since the Lone Ranger rode Silver along M-24, but that's exactly what happened during the "Celebrate Lone Ranger" parade Saturday. About 60 entries participated in the parade that drew thousands of spectators. Ken Peltier, a member of the Oakland County Sheriff's Mounted Unit, portrayed the heroic masked man while Lake Orion resident Bobby Johnson brought the faithful Indian companion Tonto to life. To see three full-color pages worth of Lone Ranger parade and festival photos, buy a copy of this week's print edition for 50 cents. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Frankly, we could stop right there.
Nothing more really needs to be said.
But one sentence hardly makes for an editorial, so allow us to expand on that thought.
We were amazed, humbled and quite gratified at the sight of thousands of spectators lining M-24, eagerly awaiting about 60 parade entries to come marching, driving and trotting by. It was certainly something we'll never forget.
People were genuinely excited to be there, from our seasoned citizens, who remember listening to the Lone Ranger on the radio three times a week, to all the little children, who dressed up like cowboys and Indians.
There's something about the Lone Ranger's high ideals and fast-paced adventures that bridges the gap between the vacuum tube generation and the microchip generation.
The character is definitely a rallying point as demonstrated by the fact that the masked hero rallied this community to celebrate its heritage with a new event that showcased the town and its people at their very best.
Celebrate Lone Ranger was a simple, pure and genuine reflection of what Oxford truly is and always has been – a nice place filled with nice people.
There was no slick or fancy marketing involved. There was no attempt to cultivate a certain image or be something we're not. There was nobody looking for an angle leading to personal gain or glory.
It was just a good time organized by good folks motivated by good reasons.
It's easy to see why Brace Beemer, who was the radio voice of the Lone Ranger from 1941-54, chose to make Oxford his home for 23 years.
Who wouldn't want to be surrounded by such wonderful neighbors, merchants and friends?
As for the parade itself, it definitely did not lack pageantry or variety.
There were about 60 dazzling entries including horses galore, vintage vehicles, masked scouts and motorcycle riders, jugglers and stilt-walkers, dogs, llamas, politicians, two high school marching bands, cheerleaders, the Detroit Tigers mascot, fire trucks, the famous Wells Fargo stagecoach, three Tontos and of course, the Lone Ranger himself atop the fiery steed Silver.
It was quite the impressive spectacle.
It's even more impressive when one considers that it was all organized by volunteers in about four or five months.
We certainly hope that Celebrate Lone Ranger won't be a one-time thing. We'd like to see it continue and grow.
We'd like to see it replace Celebrate Oxford as the town's new signature event.
It has a much broader appeal and frankly, a fun theme that folks of all ages can easily relate to and enjoy for years to come. Rooting for the hero in the white hat is a universal thing.
An exciting thing happened here Saturday.
Let's roll up our sleeves and work together to keep it going. As it says in the Lone Ranger's creed, "God put the firewood there, but every man must gather and light it himself." Let's get the ax and the matches. – CJC
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.