The Community Roundtable cancelled this year's Annual Brandon Fourth of July Parade.

By Stacie Miller

Despite The Community Roundtable Board of Directors’ difficult decision earlier this month to cancel the 63rd Annual Brandon Fourth of July Parade, the group’s Honorary Mayor’s Race is kicking off in June with the goal of helping a local charity when it needs it the most.

According to The Community Roundtable’s President Janine Nickerson, the board thought long and hard and consulted with the Sheriff’s Office Homeland Security Division about the decision to cancel the parade, which is one of the largest in the state of Florida, but decided it needed to put safety first.

“It was a very disappointing decision for our Brandon tradition,” said Nickerson. “But we felt that cancelling was the only way we could be sure to keep our participants and spectators safe during this time.”

However, Nickerson and the board are excited to announce that in another unprecedented turn, this year’s Honorary Mayor’s Race will have only one candidate, Valrico resident Dawn Marshall.

Traditionally, The Honorary Mayor of Brandon race consists of community members declaring their candidacy and fundraising for local charities during the month leading up to the parade. Every dollar raised is donated to Brandon area nonprofits.

Whoever earns the most money for their designated charities earns the title. But as Marshall is the only candidate this year, she automatically receives the title.

Marshall will be raising money for John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and has already planned virtual events including an online ball and a Facebook auction. Once elected, she is also planning to put together a cabinet with positions including Dog Catcher, Town Cryer, Hush Money Specialists and more, for which she will be accepting bribes.

“Our big goal, to raise funds for local charities, is even more important than ever in these times,” said Nickerson.

Nickerson and the board are planning for next year’s parade and encourage residents to start thinking about volunteering now.

To learn more about The Community Roundtable and The Honorary Mayor of Brandon, call 661-4350 or visit www.thecommunityroundtable.org.

Look for a full story on Marshall and her campaign in next month’s edition of The Osprey Observer.