Naming a weatherman as parade grand marshal can be risky business, says NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Jym Ganahl.
“The people are taking a big chance because any time a weatherman is invited to an outdoor event, there could be bad weather,” he joked.
However, Rick Jones, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Lilly Chapel, said he would pray for good weather for the church’s 25th annual homecoming celebration, set for Aug. 16.
Jones said it is very fitting to have Ganahl lead the parade which starts at the Godden farm on West Jefferson-Kiousville Road within sight of the radar tower that gathers information for Ganahl’s television weather reports.
The live Doppler radar tower southwest of West Jefferson provides important data, Ganahl said. “It is very helpful to see where the storms are and where they are moving.”
Ganahl said he was asked by Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes to be grand marshal for the homecoming parade. Karnes was elected sheriff in 1992 and is the longest serving sheriff in Franklin County history. He attends Trinity United Methodist Church.
“He is a good friend,” Ganahl said. “He said this is an important event, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Ganahl began his career in Iowa at age 17 when he was the youngest weather forecaster in the United States. He is also the youngest recipient of the highest honor presented by his peers, the American Meteorologist Society Seal of Approval.
Ganahl has since won numerous awards. This year he was inducted into the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasting Hall of Fame and named “Top Weather Person” in readers’ polls conducted by Columbus area publications.
He came to NBC 4 in 1979, serves as chief meteorologist and presents weather reports at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.
“I have been in television since 1966,” Ganahl said. “It has been my only love.”
The public is invited to attend Trinity United Methodist’s homecoming. To participate in the parade, individuals or groups should assemble at the Godden farm at 10 a.m. The Madison-Plains High School marching band, veterans groups from West Jefferson, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department mounted deputies are among those expected to participate in the parade.
There will be entertainment all day starting with the parade at 11 a.m. then opening ceremonies at noon. The Music Men of London Quartet performs at 2 p.m. and The Posse performs at 4. A kiddie pedal pull is set for 3 p.m, a silent auction at 5:30 and a live auction at 6:30 to wrap up the event.
Pork chops, chicken breasts and brats top the menu of good food.
New this year is a sanctioned corn hole tournament. For more information or to sign up, call Bob Thomas at 740-852-2249.
While this is the 25th annual homecoming, the Lilly Chapel church is also celebrating its 121st anniversary. Life-long church member Connie Ballah remembers when Big Plain and Georgesville churches joined Lilly Chapel in 1980 to form Trinity United Methodist Church. Before that, one pastor served all three locations, holding Sunday services in a different church each week.
Ballah said she has helped organize the homecoming for about 20 years.
“People really need something like this,” she said. “It’s an affordable day of family fun.”
Trinity United Methodist Church is lo-cated at 8530 Lilly Chapel-Georgesville Road SE. For details, call 614-879-8007.