Ramona trying not to be forgotten
Ramona is hoping its Independence Day celebration the weekend after the Fourth will give the town some freedom, too.
Freedom from being forgotten.
“We’re trying to do something for the community to help build it back up, and that’s one of the biggest things,” co-organizer George Thiel said. “It’s more than a forgotten city.”
A major benefit this year was a $1,000 grant from Marion County’s tourism tax.
“We’re trying to use it to say, ‘Hey, this is not a bad place,’ ” Thiel said. “You can move here or put a business here.”
The plans of Thiel and co-organizer Ronnie Alcorn are taking shape, with vendors increased from 4 in 2018 to 10 this year and the number of fireworks having doubled.
“It’s growing,” he said. “That’s what we’re really looking forward to, seeing it get bigger.”
The celebration has 15 events, which means a lot of opportunity for trial and error, Thiel said.
“We set it up this year so everyone from the smallest to largest can get out and do something,” he said. “It’s a complete family event.”
One of the planned events that will not be taking place is a pin-up contest. It was canceled because the organizer experienced unforeseen health problems.
Moving the event to the weekend was an attempt to make it more available for tourists, Thiel said.
He and Alcorn have one year under their belts, but it remains a learning process.
“I wish somebody could give me a manual on how to do this,” Thiel said.
Being able to discuss planning details with Trayce Warner of the Florence Labor Day committee was a help, he said.
“We can go over and help them, and then they’ll come over and help us,” he said. “That’s awesome because they’ve been doing it for years and have a lot more experience than we do.”