City leaders are getting ready to party in North Port this June, celebrating the metropolis' 50 years of existence, miserable though it may have been. North Port is trumpeting the fact that the 1/2 hour parade, keystone of the anniversary festival, has been in the planning stages for three years. Two more years of planning, they say, and they should be ready.
The parade is to kick off at noon and run until about 12:15. 12:20, if you count having to wait for the two guys cleaning up after the Clydesdales. The parade will end in downtown North Port. Organizers promise that there will be signs erected to designate where downtown is.
Anniversary project manager, Linda Yates, said there will be a float, a clown, a mascot, a band, a classic car, a marcher, a dignitary, a Ponce DeLeon re-enactor and a Budweiser/Anheuser-Busch/InBev Clydesdale.
The theme of the festival is "North Port, Yesterday and Today," shortened from the original slogan of "North Port, Yesterday and Today But We're Not Sure About Tomorrow Because Of The Way Things Have Been Going Lately."
The Tampa Bay Rays, new to their spring training home in Port Charlotte just down the road, were supposed to have a significant role in the festivities. Since winning the American League Division Championship, however, North Port has decided to replace them with the Washington Nationals because they had the worst record in Major League Baseball last year.
Musical acts will include headliners "2 Broads and a Guitar." Really. City fathers apparently wanted to add an air of class and dignity to the event since they recently found out that their original choice of Luciano Pavarotti would be unable to perform due to the fact that he had died a couple years ago.
The festival will end with a fireworks display at 7:00 PM, if anybody's still hanging around and if police don't get too many complaints about the noise. And if the kid with the firecrackers can get off work early from the nearby Subway.
In order to raise money for the festival, several fundraising events have been held in North Port, such as last fall's highly successful "Haunted Grow House." Future events are to include the sale of a cookbook, bake sale and the ever popular pie-throwing contest, where for $5 you can throw a custard pie at a North Port City Commissioner. For an extra buck, former SCTI instructor and current Commissioner Mike Treubert will lick the pie off their faces.
The organizers regret that the previously scheduled 'Movie Night with Mike' with Commissioner Treubert showing some of his home movies has been cancelled, following a recent incident at the SCTI law enforcement class, where he previewed some of his videos.