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The Marshfield parade.

Around thirty miles from Springfield, Missouri, east on Interstate 44 is Marshfield. President George H.W. Bush visited there in 1991 as did Harry S. Truman in 1948. The reason they came to the Ozarks was the annual Independence Day Parade. They served as Grand Marshalls. This is the longest running parade west of the Mississippi River. For the Christian it is a family friendly event.

Springfield now competes with Marshfield in the parade.
Chuck Kensinger

The square around the Webster County courthouse is filled with rides, food vendors, music and during election years, speeches. This will be one of those years. This is no sophisticated big city event. There will be no pauses for dance or musical ensembles to perform. They are not there for the TV audience. The parade is for the people present. This is a county type celebration.

The parade features antique tractors, horses, classic cars, bands and patriotic floats by churches and civic organizations. If you are anti-American or atheist, do not attend, if you are easily offended. Almost every area of America has a small town that goes all out for the Fourth of July. Marshfield is the Ozark's.

At one time it was unusual to visit Marshfield for the parade without running into a cousin or someone else from childhood. Most of the family has left Webster County, but a few family friends are still around. The crowds are large and as with any gathering, more people means crowding and rude behavior. Because of this and the fact that Springfield now has a Mid-Town parade, Marshfield no longer has the draw for this family that it once did.

Enjoy your Independence Day celebration wherever you wish. Remember what the holiday is about. It is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Without that brave act by dedicated men, the United States of America would not exist.


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