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Debbie Saxbury will lead the Central Point Fourth of July parade

Debbie Saxbury, grand marshal of this year’s Central Point Fourth of July parade, holds a sign like the one she will hold while riding in Dave Carr’s classic Chrysler convertible. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Debbie Saxbury, grand marshal of this year’s Central Point Fourth of July parade, holds a sign like the one she will hold while riding in Dave Carr’s classic Chrysler convertible. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

CENTRAL POINT — Debbie Saxbury, a community advocate and known go-getter when it comes to anything for her hometown and those who reside there, will lead this year’s Fourth of July parade in style.

With 66 years under her belt as a dyed-in-the-wool Crater High Comet, Saxbury will lead the Independence Day parade through her favorite downtown strip in all the world.

In over six decades, she’s headed countless improvement projects, hosted events, run food drives, rallied locals for holiday fun and supported local business, schools and local law enforcement.

Serving as grand marshal for this year’s July 4 festivities, Saxbury will be escorted by local car guru Dave Carr in his classic 1968 butter yellow Chrysler Newport.

Nominated by multiple friends and community members, Saxbury said she was honored and humbled to be chosen. While she has myriad memories tucked into every nook and cranny of the town she’s loved since she was born, one thing in particular will be on her mind as she’s waving from her prestigious lead spot next weekend — her parents, devoted community members who spent every Fourth of July serving in one way or another.

“In the 1960s, when my dad, William Saxbury, was mayor, he was asked to be grand marshal and he led our wonderful parade down Pine Street. He was also in the Lions Club, so every year they had their famous pancake breakfast that everybody in Central Point went to at the old fire station, ”Saxbury said.

“I remember Dad had his apron on, along with my mom, and they jumped on the parade route in a car and went through the parade waving at everybody, breakfast stains on that apron, just the biggest grin. He and my mom were so happy and grateful to be a part of our community’s Fourth of July parade. ”

Saxbury’s friends know she bleeds Crater High orange and black. Each year she coordinates Crater alumni gatherings and river floats. During the pandemic, she wrangled extra meals for School District 6 families via donated restaurant cards, helping struggling restaurants at the same time.

A longtime city parks advocate, Saxbury has worked for decades on projects ranging from historic preservation and holiday events to downtown beautification.

In recent years, Saxbury has dedicated much of her time to hosting a community “Central Point What’s Happening Around Town” Facebook page. A longtime salesperson at Ashley Furniture, Saxbury uses that role to help find assistance for others, as well.

Hew McElroy, who runs Crater Café with his wife, Sarah — also partners in The Point Pub & Grill restaurants — said he could think of few more deserving of the town’s respect.

“When Sarah and I moved to Central Point in 2011 … Debbie, folks said, was the go-to person for help and information. In the years since, I have come to know Debbie as a true public servant, community motivator and tireless organizer, ”McElroy said.“ She is a driving force of family-oriented events and activities in Central Point. ”

Stephanie Hendrickson, executive director for Central Point Chamber of Commerce, said leading the parade would just be an extension of Saxbury guiding and leading her hometown in so many ways.

“Debbie … does a great job of informing the residents of local events and supporting our local businesses,” Hendrickson said. “We asked for the community’s help in choosing a grand marshal for 2022, and the answer was very clear.”

Saxbury said she was happy to think her parents might be smiling down on the upcoming festivities.

“I ran the parade and festival for many years, so it has a special place in my heart. As everybody knows, my community and my town just mean everything to me,” she said.

“When I used to run the parade. I would go down the night before and see all the chairs out. I would be so happy that we were putting on a parade, and people would want to bring their chairs out the night before. would just tear up thinking of all the happy faces I knew I’d see the following day. ”

“I have this great sign that I’m having made. It says,’Cheer if you love Central Point!’ I’m gonna be so grateful to have my grandkids in the car with me, and we’re gonna be going through town, holding up those signs, and we can’t wait to hear people cheering for our beloved Central Point! ”

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

IF YOU GO

The Central Point Fourth of July parade and Freedom Festival occur downtown.

Events include:

Pancake breakfast at the Central Point Grange Hall, 7 am

Run 4 Freedom 5K run, 7:30 am; Kids Fun Run, 8:45 am

Parade and F-15 flyover, 9:30 am

Freedom Festival in Pfaff Park, 10:30 am Festival includes free kids activities such as face painting, balloon animals, crafts, pizza- and pie-eating contests and live entertainment.

Music will be provided by The Brothers Reed from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, followed by the Rogue Rage Duo and the emcee skills of DJ Veach until 2:30.

Fireworks shows on both ends of town — at The Expo and in the Twin Creeks neighborhood — begin at dusk.

For details, see www.centralpointoregon.gov/parksrec/page/run-4-freedom-4th-july-festivities and

4th of July Freedom Festival

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