As has been a tradition for more than six decades, the Pickerington Lions Club will host its Labor Day parade and fish fry to honor community heritage and raise funds for charities.

As has been a tradition for more than six decades, the Pickerington Lions Club will host its Labor Day parade and fish fry to honor community heritage and raise funds for charities.

The Sept. 5 event – the 63rd annual one presented by the Lions Club — will feature parade floats in Olde Pickerington Village and mounds of fried fish in Victory Park to celebrate Labor Day.

"We consider it a service to the community and that's what the Lions are all about — serving the community and those in need," said Brian Fox, president of the Pickerington Lions Club. "It's also our biggest fundraiser, and every dime we raise from this function will go to our charitable giving."

This year's festivities mark the 100th anniversary of Pickerington's first Labor Day celebration. In 1911; however, it was then called a "Homecoming," and a committee of community volunteers organized it.

It remained that way until the mid-1940s, when World War II contributed to the end of the local celebration.

The Lions Club, established in Pickerington 1946, took up the Labor Day cause in 1949. Since then, the celebration typically has been anchored by a parade and fish fry and this year will be no different.

Peace United Methodist Church of Pickerington will serve as this year's parade grand marshal. The Lions chose to honor the church because it is celebrating its bicentennial this year and the club is borrowing the church's bicentennial theme, "The Past, the Present and the Promise of Pickerington" for the parade.

Fox said the church is expected to have two wagons in the parade depicting the past and present, plus some 200 parade participants that will include a circuit rider (a preacher on horseback), period-costumed walkers and a float decorated as Heaven.

"We have a handful of (Lions) members who are actually members of Peace, and we have a long history with Peace," Fox said. "We often met at their old location downtown and we still meet at their church sometimes.

"We know they're a tremendously active congregation and 200 years is a big deal."

The Lions Club is hoping to attract other parade participants and is encouraging those wishing to walk or have floats to register in advance by calling Bernie Hatem at (614) 837-6544.

While pre-registration is preferred, the club will accept last-minute entries. The parade will line up at 8 a.m. at Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way.

Cash awards of $50 and $25 will be given to "best-looking" entries, based upon overall appearance and attention to theme in both commercial and noncommercial categories.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and will be followed by the fish fry, which is slated to begin at 11 a.m. in Victory Park. Approximately 540 pounds of fish will be fried and be served until approximately 4 p.m. — or until the fish is all gone.

"A fish dinner runs $8 and includes fish, a bun, cole slaw and fries," Fox said. "That typically fills up a person.

"There also will be fish sandwiches available for $5, and if someone just wants fries, that is $3."

Nonalcoholic drinks will be sold by Boy Scout Troop 256, which is sponsored by the Lions Club. Proceeds from the fish fry will benefit the Lions, and proceeds from the drink sales will go to the Boy Scouts.

Also an annual tradition, the Lions again will hold a 50-50 cash raffle at the end of the fish fry. Other prizes will include:

• An $800 white and yellow gold diamond fashion ring donated by Edward Warren Jewelers.

• A $150 gift certificate at Hermann & Henry Eye Care.

• Gift cards totaling $100 to Butch's Italian Café, donated by Coffee Man Beverages.

• Gift cards totaling $100 to Rule (3).

Additionally, Fox said entertainment during the day will include a concert in Victory Park by the PHS Central and PHS North marching bands, music by DJ Chuck Steel and a free inflatable obstacle course.

"It's a great family event," Fox said. "We're trying hard to have things down there that people can enjoy and not gouge them."

Event updates and additional information is available online at www.PickeringtonOH.Lionwap.org.

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