By Sandi Latimer
Long-time Lincoln Village resident Mary Alice Callahan Wharton has been chosen to lead the Westland parade in the Independence Day celebration on June 24.
The parade returns to West Broad Street this year after having been moved to side streets the past few years during road improvements. The parade begins at 10 a.m., using one direction of the street while traffic will be diverted to the other lane.
Parade sponsor, Westland Area Business Association, chose Wharton to lead the parade for her many years of service to the area.
But a lot of her work began long before she and husband, Joe, moved to Lincoln Village North in 1959.
When she was 12, she helped open the Ohio State Fair when she sang “Hi Ho, Come to the Fair,” at the cow barn. A few years later she sang with Dean Martin when he and his band played at Central High School. She then transitioned to commercials and print ads and was an extra in several of the movies shot in Columbus.
Mary Alice and Joe raised three children – Diana, Trischa and Joe – and that opened the doors to her many years of volunteer service in the South-Western City Schools. She served as room mother and with the PTA. When granddaughters Melissa Cox, Natalie Sweeney and Alyson Townsend became teachers, Mary Alice was a frequent reader in those classrooms.
Her volunteer service wasn’t limited to the schools. She was one of the early volunteers at then Doctors West Hospital, a service she performed until earlier this year.
She’s also been active with the Ladies Oriental Shrine for more than 40 years and served as High Priestess in 1980.
This year’s parade carries the theme of “Celebrating our Broad CommUNITY,” said parade chair Nancy Day-Achauer, who adds that the theme celebrates the ongoing revitalization of the community as seen by the new streetscape on West Broad Street.
Returning to the celebration now that construction work is complete is a 5K race. Residents who can’t manage the full 3.1 miles distance, can pick their distance, and run or walk either .62 mile or 1.8 miles. The race begins at 8:30 a.m. and will be over by the time the parade begins at 10 a.m. on West Broad Street.
Race registration can be done through www.allsportsraces.com/community-5k.html. Information about entering the parade can be obtained at email@example.com.
The parade winds up at the Prairie Township Fire Department fish fry to be held behind the main fire station at Inah Avenue and Palmetto. Also at the fish fry will be balloting for three seats on the Westland Area Commission. Three incumbents are seeking re-election. Anyone who wishes to run for a seat on that body can obtain petitions at the Westland Area Library.