FAIRBORN — Linda Hall has been putting Fairborn’s Fourth of July events together with the help of fellow co-chairs and Fourth of July committee members for more than 30 years.
While she is a fan of the “glitter and shine,” that comes along with the annual celebration which symbolizes the birth of the nation – it’s not why she keeps coming back. Her father, a World War II veteran, was shot out of an 18-foot building, resulting in a broken foot and lifelong limp. The flag was always celebrated in her home.
“My love for my city, my country and all the former men and women who have given so much so we can be here, be free and able to celebrate,” said Hall, also known as “sparkles,” in reference to why she volunteers each year.
“Freedom is not free, it is a privilege that has been given to us from so many men and women who have given their lives so we can have one day to be with our families,” Hall added. “We should never, ever forget the sacrifice those men and women and their families gave to us. It was a special gift and they should never be forgotten.”
She first started volunteering for the Fairborn Festival Committee in 1986, taking on a variety of roles, such as parade judging and publicity. She took one year off but was eventually asked to chair the committee, which is the hat she has worn ever since, sometimes on her own but usually alongside another individual. In 2011, she was named the Fairborn Fourth of July Grand Marshal and annually enjoys a ride in the parade.
One year during the annual Lil Miss and Lil Mr. Fairborn contest, she remembers a young boy who came dressed and ready to represent the community. However, he was too young to participate in the contest. The solution? He got a seat next to Hall the following day during the parade. Another year, that seat was filled by Country singer Austin Hicks.
Meanwhile, the driver’s seat was previously filled by her son, Donnie Hall. It is a family affair for the Hall’s. The annual block party is always held on July 3, which is her daughter’s (Lori Bocook) birthday.
“My kids, they just always loved the parade and getting the candy, [sometimes] they’d be in the parade,” she said. “It was a big part of our life.”
During the time of year when some individuals are carving jack-o-lanterns, prepping for their Thanksgiving celebrations, wrapping gifts and planning New Years Eve parties, Hall is thinking about the following Fourth of July. During October through December, she is booking entertainment for next year’s block party and fireworks celebration.
However, she said the real work starts in February.
“I’m always thinking of how we can do a better job and help our community celebrate the birth of our nation,” Hall said. “ … I’ve even dreamt about it.”
In previous years, the city would assign themes across the parade floats. She is considering bringing that back in the future. Hall expressed gratitude for her fellow co-chair, Jamie Bauer, as well as the additional volunteers to help year-after-year in addition to the event’s sponsors and supporters, such as the Rotary Club and Jeff Schmidt for volunteering space for the parade to get put together.
In the coming years, the committee will seek additional sponsors to ignite a grander fireworks display.
“Everything is worth it when you see all the smiles on the children and older peoples faces,” Hall said. “It makes it all worthwhile … To see everyone’s faces and to know on this particular day, we can all laugh and have a good time.”