Harry and Ruth Cannon have been selected as the 2013 City of Comer Christmas Parade Grand Marshals.
“Their service and love for the Comer and Madison County Community were the main inspiration for this selection,” Comer officials said.
Harry and Ruth moved to Comer with their children, Kerry and Diane, from Newton County in 1967 for Harry to assume the position as the manager of the local Georgia Power Office and Operations. They purchased a home in Comer and immediately became involved in the Comer Baptist Church with Harry serving over the years on numerous positions on staff and committees with the church. Ruth, in addition to being a homemaker raising the two daughters, held part-time positions at the Comer Elementary School and Comer City Hall. Later she owned and operated a clothing store in downtown Comer.
Many in the county, however, will recall Harry and Ruth’s involvement with the Comer Lions Club and the Madison County Fair. Harry joined the club over 46 years ago in 1967 shortly after moving to Comer and has held almost every office within the organization as well as being a leader in the Lions Club sponsored annual Madison County Agricultural Fair.
During the 60s, when Harry first got involved with the club and the fair, the fair consisted of all locally constructed rides. Club members operated all the rides and manned all the entertainment booths. Ruth recalls that “there were large tents for exhibits and one for adults to play bingo while the kids were turned loose to enjoy the family atmosphere.”
Jobs at the fair included operating the six-cylinder Chevy engine powered handmade Ferris Wheel that still stands today as an icon of service of many dedicated Lions Club members over the years. Other rides included a used merry-go-round powered by a two-cylinder John Deere engine, a boat ride for the small kids and a homemade train with tracks and a tunnel. There was even a live round .22 shooting gallery where folks could pay to try to knock off moving ducks and stationary targets.
In the early 70s the handmade equipment was sold and the club began to contract with commercial amusement companies to provide entertainment on the midway. But still today the Madison County Fair is noted for maintaining its family-style atmosphere, local leaders said.
Ruth was a charter member of the Comer Lioness Club, chartered in the early 80s, but before that, along with many of the other wives of club members, helped with the fair. Later the Lioness Club was merged into the Comer Lions Club.
Harry has served as the secretary and treasurer of the Madison County Fair for the past 25 years and as project chairman for the past five years. This position required him to oversee the construction of a $50,000 show barn, a $45,000 exhibit building with pavilion and a soon-to-be-completed building to be used by local Cub and Boys Scouts.
“Anyone who has driven through Comer the last few months would have seen Harry working around the new downtown park area,” city leaders said. “The Lions Club, in cooperation with the City of Comer, has turned an unsightly drainage ditch on the lot at the corner of Main Street and North Avenue into a downtown park that would be the envy of any town. A new large gazebo, a bridge over the ditch, drainage work that dressed up the ditch, landscaping, sidewalks, and lighting were all completed under Harry’s supervision.”
Harry has said his philosophy about life is that “the Lord put us here for something more than just eating groceries.” The Lion’s Club motto is “We Serve” and Harry said “I feel this is another way that I might try to help others and strive to make things better in our community.”
“Harry retired from Georgia Power but not from service to his fellow man in 1992,” said city leaders. “In addition to his work for his church, the Lions Club and community he has become a gentleman farmer and full time rabbit hunter.”
He and Ruth now have more time to enjoy their two grandchildren and one great granddaughter who all live in Madison County.
“Their love for their community that manifests itself into service should be an inspiration to all that look forward to Christmas with the anticipation of ‘Peace on Earth and Goodwill To Men,’” city leaders said.
Christmas in Comer set for Dec. 7-8
Plans are underway for the 2013 Christmas in Comer Celebration set for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8.
The highlight of the festivities will be the Christmas parade that will begin Saturday at 2 p.m. The theme for this year’s parade is “A Cotton Candy Christmas.” Maggie’s Café will host “Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus,” who will be on hand after the parade to greet children in the median across from Maggie’s to give out candy and pose for pictures.
The annual Reindeer Run/Walk sponsored by the Madison County Recreation Department will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. at Arnold Park. The festival will also begin at 10 a.m. downtown in the area near the new gazebo. Vendors and crafters from the area will have booths set up for those that wish to shop for that special unique Christmas gift or purchase decorations of the season.
The Comer Elementary School will sponsor a chicken barbecue beginning at 11 a.m. Plates are $7 and will include a chicken half plus the fixings.
A number of choirs, most notably being the Comer Elementary School Choir, will provide entertainment beginning at 1PM at the grandstand on Main Street.
The Christmas Tree Lighting sponsored by local churches is scheduled for Sunday evening, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. The new gazebo recently constructed by the Comer Lions Club at the corner of Main Street and North Avenue will be the new location for this event and will include choirs from local schools and churches performing the songs of the season.