Parade marshals provide giant flag; seek volunteers

A few good men and women are needed to help carry a huge American flag that will be part of this year’s Washington County Fair Parade.

“It takes 75 people to carry this flag, but they’ll have to be able to walk two miles in a two-hour parade, so we’re hoping for some youths to help carry it,” said Sylvi Caporale, who, along with husband Jim, will be this year’s parade marshals.

“I was in a state of shock when they asked us to be parade marshals-I didn’t think we were old enough,” Jim said. “My first reaction was surely there is someone more deserving of this.”

But fair board secretary Dick Henthorn said the Caporales have done a lot for Washington County and Marietta.

“These are people who have often helped us out but don’t get much recognition,” Henthorn said. “For example, they donated a new American flag and an Ohio flag to the board just before the Fourth of July. There’s an old saying that if you’re going to thank someone, don’t wait until it’s too late to do it.”

He said the board’s decision was also based on the Caporales’ involvement in the community since they moved to Marietta in 1973.

Sylvi was an elementary school teacher in Marietta for 12 years and wrote and directed the Safety Town Program with the founder, the late Sam Cook. Together the Caporales also actively participate in Main Street Marietta, the Marietta Community Church, and other local civic, business and education initiatives.

After being asked to serve as the fair parade marshals, Jim said he and Sylvi agreed they should do something for the community.

“We didn’t just want to be recipients, we wanted to give something back,” he said.

Owners of American Flags & Poles on Front Street, the Caporales decided to provide their 30×60-foot, 100 pound version of Old Glory for the parade.

Jim said the idea was drawn from the dedication ceremony for the newly-rebuilt Putnam Bridge in 2000 where at least a dozen 45×90-foot American flags from different eras of history were paraded across the span. Those flags were provided courtesy of the National Flag Truck, a privately-sponsored program initiated by President Kennedy in the 1960s.

The Caporales are among sponsors of the National Flag Truck program and were able to help bring the gigantic flags to Marietta for the bridge celebration.

But the flag to be used in the county fair parade is owned by the Caporales.

“This flag was manufactured in Chicago and is designed to be flown on poles that are 100 to 125 feet high,” Sylvi said. “They’re only used for special events.”

The 30-foot lead end of the flag will be carried by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, she said, and the trailing end of the flag is to be held by students from the Veritas Academy.

Members of the Marietta High football team are also expected to help carry the banner along the 60-foot sides.

Sylvi said anyone interested in helping move the flag along the parade route should call American Flags & Poles at (740) 373-4262 and leave their name and phone number.

The parade will begin near Marietta College’s Don Drumm Stadium, then move west on Ohio Street to Second Street and north on Second to Greene Street, then west on Greene to Front Street. The procession will then head north on Front Street to the Washington County Fairgrounds where the flag will be part of the fair’s opening ceremonies.

The parade lines up at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30 and starts enroute to the fairgrounds at 10 a.m.