Franklin families look forward to the 4th of July Celebration each year. This event offers activities for all ages and is often an annual gathering place for local family reunions. The Franklin Lions Club has planned and executed the Celebration for many years, creating lasting memories in the community.
Aleece Ford met her husband in 1993 and the two would attend the 4th of July Celebration each year. She recalls, “We looked forward to staying up all night stirring the Burgoo on the 3rd and to the full day of three on three tournaments on the 4th.” The couple married 12 years ago and had their first child in 2003. They wanted to share the 4th of July tradition with her, but “unfortunately the help had become sparse and not many activities were going on in the park for younger kids,” Aleece says.
Aleece feared that the annual tradition was beginning to fade, so she recruited members of the community to help support the efforts of the Lions Club in 2007. The Franklin 4th of July Committee is committed to keeping the community holiday tradition alive and wants to engage upcoming generations in helping plan the Celebration.
The Ford family’s summer memories are filled with attending the 4th of July Celebration. “The whole community grew up with the Celebration,” Aleece says, including her husband. She wants her five children, ages 10 months to 10, to be able to bring their children in years to come.
“I love being from a small community,” Aleece says, “and that is why I’m so passionate about continuing our wonderful celebration. It is awesome to see it all come together and everyone enjoying themselves and the company of others on the fourth.”
Planning the celebration is a detailed process, with the committee arranging events, vendors, and bands now in anticipation of the summer. The committee’s goal is to create an event with many free options, so families from throughout the community can attend and enjoy “an affordable day.” To reach this goal, the committee holds several fundraisers leading up to the event, including the Chili Cook Off on March 1st at the American Legion and the Garage to Garage Golf during the second weekend of June.
“Every year we have fundraisers and seek donations from many of the community businesses to help fund our event,” Aleece explains. “We put on a pageant and a band on the third and several bands throughout the day on the fourth, with free games, bouncy houses, face painters, balloon artist caricaturist, and more. None of this would be possible without donations from the community and businesses.”
The event kicks off on July 3rd with three pageants, including the Junior Miss, Little Miss, and Little Mister. The big day then begins with a holiday parade filled with handmade floats. Creating a float is a long standing tradition for many area families. Aleece always looks forward to what they will create each year.
Franklin is also known for its world famous Burgoo and the committee could not imagine a 4th of July without this regional dish. Each year, the Village of Franklin prepares around 1500 gallons of Burgoo, with meat, vegetables, and broth added to the kettles and stirred overnight. The Franklin secret Burgoo recipe is kept the Lyons Club, then passed down through its members. Participants have traveled from as far as California to join the celebration and taste the Lions Club’s secret ingredients.
The Ford’s are looking forward to introducing the newest additions to their family, 10 month old twins Andrew and Kollin, to the 4th of July Celebration this year. The family loves being active together, going camping, fishing, and riding four wheelers. With the welcome addition of the twins, volunteer support for organizing and planning the event will be especially appreciated this year.
Volunteers are needed to help plan, organize, and set up this year’s event. To learn more about upcoming fundraisers, to become a vendor, or to volunteer, visit the event Facebook page at (waiting on this info).