Patriotism on parade: Grand Detour gussies up its golf carts for some Fourth of July fun

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GRAND DETOUR – What do you do if the coronavirus pandemic causes you to delay your wedding for a year?

Slap on a summer-cut wedding gown complete with Nike tennis shoes and a veil, get your groom-to-be into tuxedo shorts, make a wedding cake with five rolls of toilet paper, and jump on a golf cart with a sign that says “In Sickness and in Health ... A Covid Style Wedding”.

That’s what Kate Johnson and Joe Roth did Saturday as they rode in the second Grand Detour Golf Cart Parade.

“We were supposed to be married this August, but our wedding is now next August,” said Johnson, a Grand Detour native. “We’re trying to make some fun out of it today, as we plan to enjoy another year of being engaged.”

The cart, driven by Roth’s best man, Evan Schmidt, with Elizabeth Wheeler riding shotgun, was one of a little more than 50 golf carts and all-terrain vehicles that took part in the village’s second golf cart parade.

Organized by Jim Ross, this year’s entries also included a motorcycle, two Jeeps, and a couple of bicycles.

Ruth Ross, Jim’s mother and longtime Grand Detour resident, was this year’s grand marshal. She rode in the lead vehicle, Jim’s antique Jeep, with his wife Connie and their black lab along as passengers.

Jim, wearing red, white and blue pants, perused this year’s entries chatting with neighbors and friends, before starting the 8 p.m. parade from the parking lot of the John Deere Historic Site.

One of the decorated entries was by Finn Sommers, 9, of Crystal Lake, who saw last year’s parade when he was visiting his grandfather Tom Welty. This year he asked Welty if he could decorate his Bears-themed golf cart and drive it in the parade.

The cart, dubbed “Tatsawanna”included big blue eyes, a grass skirt, and yellow streamers. “I don’t know how to spell the name,” said Finn. “That’s just what we call it.”

Next to Tatsawanna was Mark and Linda Dewey’s more traditionally themed cart done in the likeness of Uncle Sam.

“It took me three mops to do this,” said Linda, referring to Uncle Sam’s beard and mustache.

“It took me 30 hours to do the rest of it,” joked Mark, referring to the numerous red, white and blue streamers and large patriotic top hat that adorned the 1987 Yamaha golf cart.

Jared Tate had two parrots to add to his golf cart entry—Johnny and June, named after t Johnny and June Carter Cash. Johnny and June perched on the front of the cart as it made its way through town.

The most presidential entry in Saturday’s event was Kevin Carroll’s 1964 Cushman Golfster cart.

“President Eisenhower used this cart when he golfed,” Carroll said.