WAGRAM — The serene silence of the Deercroft golf community was shattered on Wednesday as the sirens of multiple fire trucks rang out.
The volunteer firefighters from the Springhill Fire Department weren’t responding to an emergency, they were leading the annual Fourth of July parade.
The fire engines were followed by a caravan of red, white and blue clad golf carts, children on bicycles and a scooter. The parade participants took two laps around the community before making their final pass by the judges. Prizes were awarded for most patriotic, most creative, best firewise theme and best display of flags.
Around 100 people attended the parade, which followed the community fun run/walk that started the day. Parade organizer and Firewise Committee member Joy Cloninger said with people being on vacation or out and about for the holiday that it was a great turnout.
“For our little community 100 people is good,” she said. “Deercroft is a lovely community, it’s quite we’ve got young families, military and retirees and people in between. It’s a really nice place to live and we welcome anyone to come and live here.”
Considering silence is a key point in golf, Cloninger is surprised that in the 10 years no one has said anything about the sirens from the fire trucks disrupting their play.
“We have yet to have a complaint from the golfers,” she laughed.
Cloninger said her favorite part of the holiday is the togetherness it brings to the community
“Seeing everyone come together and celebrate our nation’s freedom and enjoying the fellowship of our good neighborhood,” she said.
The activities continued throughout the rest of the day with a pool party in the afternoon followed by a flag golf tournament. The celebration wraps up at dark with a fireworks display at Lake Deercroft Beach.
Cloninger said the community has been putting on the Fourth of July festivities for around 10 years.
“Our former neighbors Suzanne and Larry Allen found out about this and wrote a grant and were awarded money from the state,” said Cloninger. “Larry and Suzanne have moved out of the neighborhood, but the other committee members have kept it going. It was started by a group other than us that were very good visionaries. The first two years I was in the parade, then I became involved in the Firewise Committee and started to organize the parade a few years ago.”
In conjunction with America’s Birthday, the Deercroft community also uses the Fourth of July as Firewise Awareness Day. Deercroft is one of 27 Firewise Communities in the state and the area surrounding the community and golf course is known as a Wildland/Urban Interface which means homes and communities meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland vegetation. In these areas, wildfires can be extremely dangerous and destructive to people and properties.
“Firewise is a nationwide non-profit it focuses on the principals of protecting your community from the dangers of wildfires. At Deercroft we maintain our dam and keep it cut low, we have a perimeter break around our neighborhood and we do that in conjunction with the North Carolina Forestry Service,” said Cloninger. “We also interface with the local fire departments, they come out and teach us about fire safety and smoke detector awareness.”
The Firewise Committee at Deercroft also provides homeowners with information about how far to plant treats from their homes and how to keep pine straw a certain distance from the property to mitigate the risk of wildfires because the community is surrounded by the North Carolina Gamelands it’s very susceptible to wildfires.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]