Florence gears up for annual Labor Day celebration

The city of Florence is inviting everyone to celebrate the end of summer with friends and family at the 77th annual Labor Day weekend Saturday through Monday.

This year?s theme, said Trayce Warner, one of the committee members, is ?Jewel of the Cottonwood?Find Your Treasure in Florence, Kansas.?

In addition to many of the old favorite events, she said, the committee has come up with some new ones, too.

?The scavenger hunt is new this year and tied to the theme,? she said. ?We are hoping this will be a fun event for kids with the clues taking them all over town.?

Warner said Saturday morning will be a fun time to check out the city-wide garage sales and farmers market at Moses Shane Park.

Other activities on Saturday include the ?King of the Hill? soapbox derby at the top of Sixth Street.

Later in the day, she said, street vendors will offer temp tattoos, glitter art and a caricature artist, along with three different musical acts starting at 7 p.m.

?These are all local performers, with music for the street dance by the Classic Cowboys,? Warner said.

The Classic Cowboys take the stage at 9 p.m. playing classic country songs from the 1950s through the early 1990s.

Old-time fun

More enjoyment for young people will be featured Sunday with sidewalk chalk art drawing, a bike decorating workshop and other activities beginning at 2 p.m.

One of the more popular events, now in its third year, Warner said, is the vintage baseball game with teams reliving 1860s-era baseball starting at 6:30 p.m.

The uniforms and rules are all from the 1860s and concessions are served at ?turn-back-the-clock? prices.

?After the game, a watermelon seed-spitting contest will take place and a first-class fireworks display coordinated by Randy Dallke follows,? she said.

Monday events

Starting at 8 a.m., the Bryan Harper Memorial horseshoe pitching contest begins at Unity Park.

Also at 8 a.m., the Labor Day 5K run begins with start and finish lines at the gymnasium, 400 W. Seventh St., with $2 from each registration being donated to the Colon Cancer Alliance. A fun run is also planned at 8:45 a.m.

For more information about the 5K or fun run, call 316-706-8580.

The parade begins at 11 a.m., and Warner said the word is that this year the committee is looking forward to more floats.

This year?s grand marshals are Randy and Judy Mills.

?Judy is a native of Florence,? Warner said, ?and the couple have raised two daughters here.?

They own Doyle Creek Land and Cattle (Ranch) and Judy owns and operates Doyle Creek Mercantile.

?Their home is on the Kansas Historical Register,? she said, ?and they recently purchased and renovated the Opera House downtown, which is also on the Kansas Historical Register.?

The couple have spent time and money to keep Florence viable as a community while promoting its history, Warner added.

Parade entries

Organizers encourage individuals or groups interested in taking part at the parade to register early by call Melvin Honeyfield at 620-382-6434.

While there is no entry fee, prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place floats and best classic car or truck.

Following the parade, the Florence Labor Day Committee will have its button drawing, this year for $142?one dollar for each year Florence has been an incorporated city.

The Marion-Florence Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby begins at 12:30 p.m. and turtle races and other children?s games begin at 1 p.m.

Other activities rounding out the Labor Day Weekend, she said includes the FFA Barnyard Olympics at 1:30 p.m., and Cow Chip Bingo at 2:30 p.m.

Mountain Men

The Mountain Men Rendezvous will be Aug. 29-31 and Sept. 1 located south of the railroad tracks.

Events are planned throughout the weekend with camp participants welcome to march in the parade Monday.

Buttons are $5 and required for admission to most of the events.

Children age 6 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

For more information or questions, contact any of the 2014 Labor Day Committee members to include Gaby Dye, Dave Foley, Bob Gayle, Mary Jane Grimmett, Melanie Grimmett, Melvin Honeyfield or Warner.

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