Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Community parade turns 25 this year

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Naomi Brookner⁄The Gazette
Sandy Fletcher (left) and Helene Rosenheim post signs at the entrance to the Brooke Manor Estates community to announce the three-day Olney Days celebration this weekend.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Olney Days Parade, which has evolved into an entire weekend of events designed to celebrate the greater Olney community.

Sponsored and organized by the Greater Olney Civic Association (GOCA), the annual Olney Days celebration has become a much-anticipated rite of spring. It will begin Friday night and continue with the beloved parade on Sunday.

This year’s theme is ‘‘Olney: Our Secret is Out.”

Olney Days Chairwoman Helene Rosenheim said that although residents have long known Olney to be a great place to live, work and raise a family, others are now taking notice.

‘‘We’ve noticed Olney has recently ended up on several lists as a desirable place to live,” she said.

Many of the weekend’s events remain the same, included Joe’s Ride, which attracted more than 700 participants last year, the popular firework display and the parade.

One new event is the Olney Town Meeting planned for Saturday afternoon, where residents are invited to learn about and provide input on four topics relating to the community: the Olney Town Center project, public safety, education and youth, and transportation issues.

‘‘There are a lot of changes planned for Olney with the new Olney Town Center and the [Intercounty Connector],” Rosenheim said. ‘‘With the weekend focusing on the community and the fact that it’s always important for people to be informed and to share their input, it just makes sense for this year.”

There is also a change in the musical entertainment. The Olney Community Band and the Olney Big Band will perform Saturday evening at Olney Manor Park this year. In the past, they have performed at the Mr. and Mrs. Olney competition, but this year the band Crash, comprised of local Olney Elementary School students, will entertain during that event.

‘‘We have elementary school-age kids performing on Friday night, and then Rip Rice who is 84 years old directing the Olney Big Band on Saturday. I think that mimics life in Olney. We are running the full gamut,” Rosenheim said.

Organizers are hoping for good weather, and a good turnout.

‘‘I think Olney Days has something for everybody,” GOCA President Sharon Dooley said. ‘‘There’s the charitable component with Joe’s Ride, fun for children at the parade and the events at Olney Manor Park, and fun for the adults with the band performances and the Car and Truck Show. Helene does an amazing job of covering all the bases to draw in the whole community.”