Fannin County Museum of History


One Main Street, Bonham, Texas

The Largest Parade in the History of Bonham

Bonham Daily Favorite, August 7, 1994

As the time scheduled for Will Evans "Party for Fannin County* approached, the people of Bonham were seized with a fever of anticipation. The local media as well as regional newspapers reported in detail on the upcoming! celebration.

Bonham merchants joined the excitement by decorating their store windows with festive party arrangements and also enticed their customers with promised special bargains in honor of the celebration. Practically every newspaper ad for two weeks preceding urged the citizens of the County to take part in the splendid events.

Finally the day arrived, July 10, 1923. The party started with an 8:30 a.m. concert performed by the Bonham Municipal Band on the court house grounds. The media failed to make much mention of this opening portion of the three day party nor was the program of selections printed. Evidently this was merely the opening act for the spectacular which was to came. During the band concert, Mqyor Fred Rogers, City Attorney, issued the first of many speeches of welcome to the assembled crowd,

At ten a.m., as advertised, according to The Bonham Daily Favorite, the largest parade in the history of Bonham, stepped off on north Main Street,

Among the crowd were select special reporters from The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth Star Telegram, all the regional papers sent reporters, and Pathe Newsreel Company sent a special filming team. The Dallas Morning News special radio truck was also on hand,

The Favorite reported the number of spectators at more than ten thousand. It was indicated that the people stood five to ten persons deep along Main and Center Streets and along all four aides of the square,

The line of march started at City Park on North Main, proceeded south to the First National Bank, turned to the east to Center Street and then north again to disperse at the park.

The reporter for the paper used some space in describing the parade entries, ’‘judging from the many smile and generous compliments bestowed upon each and every decorated car and the many other beautiful offerings in the parade this morning there is no question but that it was one of the nicest, most interesting, and unquestionably one of the most successful parades ever staged in Bonham. A description of all these items in the parade, if we gave them justice, would probably take an entire page."

The reporter then proceeded to list all the entries with a sparsity of detail and descriptions that can today only be formulated from the extant photographs.

Before the parade was underway, one more event was necessary following the expected format of the day. Judge C.A. Wheeler presented the address of welcome from a specially constructed platform on the south side of the courthouse. In those pro-loudspeaker days, politicians and other orators found it necessary to project their addresses in stentorian tones, but it is hardly imaginable that many of the estimated 10.000 spectators heard the judge’s address.

At the conclusion of the welcoming address the parade finally got under way led by Grand Marshall Deets Dorough. He was followed by Fannin County Sheriff Ed Brent and Bonham City Marshall George Elam.

The Will Evens family occupied the next car followed by the Bonham Band. (Note: the city band, not the high school band which did net exist in those days.)

The next section of the parade was dedicated to various patriotic groups headed by the remaining Confederate Veterans, American legion, a patriotic float, artillery from an unidentified military source, and members of several fraternal organizations.

A miscellany of individual costumed characters and theme decorated vehicles followed with representations of Buffalo Bill, Robert E. Lee, Indians, and various ethnic characters.

Vehicles of all kinds took their place from new automobiles, decorated bicycles, wagons drawn by a variety of animals. Theo Bonham American LaFrance fire truck (which probably appeared in more parades than it ever did at fires), and the usual horseback riders, many dressed in costume,

The expansively decorated floats were the next to Iast section of the parade. Unfortunately no description of these was forthcoming. Floats were entered by Bonham, Allen Memorial Hospital nurses, Honey Grove, Leonard, Ladonia, Windom, Trenton, Dodd City, Ravenna, Lamasco, and Hudsonville.

Other floats were ridden by the Texas Harmony Five, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, Mrs. Hayes and the spinning wheel, Jazzerinktum Band, and a Pushball Float.

Bringing up the rear was the Honey Grove Bank, clowns, all the county's seventh grade schoolchildren, city, and county officials, and an old time stage coach.

the three day party was underway.  Still to come were the various programs to be presented throughout the city.