Next year will be twice as nice, Northland Community Council President Emmanuel V. Remy predicted last week.
During a kind of postmortem for the May 29 Volunteer Awards Banquet among attendees at the June 3 meeting, Remy and civic association representatives not only looked back on a successful event just completed but also ahead to next year, when the NCC will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Although technically the consortium of civic groups came into being in December 1964, Remy has long been touting 2015 as the year for observing the half-century mark. He said last week he hopes to see twice as many people on hand for next year's awards banquet, and that he plans to invite all living past NCC presidents to be on hand for the event.
"It'll be interesting to see who shows up and who doesn't," Remy said.
One council representative said she attended the awards ceremony at the Villa Milano Banquet and Conference Center with people who hadn't been to one previously, and they were impressed.
"To our knowledge, there's nobody else doing it," Remy said of honoring community volunteers, along with a police officer, firefighter and, for the first time, an educator of the year. "It's a wonderful event. I'm proud that we do it."
He said he would have a date for the 50th anniversary awards banquet picked out by next month to give as much time as possible in planning the event.
On that front, Remy and NCC Secretary Brandon L. Boos raised the possibility of changing the format and timing for the monthly meetings, ending the regular business items after the first hour, at 8 p.m., in order to devote time to committees working on the banquet and the Independence Day Parade.
These are the organization's "signature events," Remy stated.
"We should embrace them as important activities," he added.
"The idea is since we're all here, we could focus on those things and other matters," Boos said of devoting the last half hour of the monthly sessions to committees.
Some NCC representatives noted they have had little luck in recent years rounding up residents to participate in the July 4 parade, which is often touted as the largest in the state sponsored by a community organization.
"To be honest, it's like pulling teeth," Forest Park Civic Association President Ken Gilbert said.
"I get it," Remy said. "It takes a while to encourage people. When you actually get out there and participate, it's a ton of fun."
"It's just a nice time, a lot of nice people," said Sandy LaFollette, the chairwoman again this year of the committee organizing the annual parade, which was inaugurated in the Forest Park neighborhood in 1963.
Mayor Michael B. Coleman has been recruited to cut the ribbon for the start of the 2014 parade, which begins at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Morse and Karl roads.
This year's theme is, "America's Heroes: Past, Present and Future."
Officer Scott Clinger, one of the Columbus Division of Police's community liaisons to the Northland area, will be the grand marshal.