When Marsha Katz Edison and her husband, David Edison, bought their home on South Roosevelt Avenue in central Bexley in 1983, they didn’t realize their new abode was located at the epicenter of Bexley’s Fourth of July parade.
But, when America’s birthday came around the following year, the Edisons happily hosted their first parade-watching party. They’ve been doing so ever since.
“We moved to Bexley because it had the highest concentration of Jews,” Katz Edison said, referring to Central Ohio.
With a front yard adorned with tents for shade, armadas of chairs and treats to rival a bar mitzvah bash, the Edisons welcome family and friends to experience the uniqueness of a Bexley Fourth of July parade.
Guests who aren’t careful could even find themselves getting engaged on the Edisons’ front lawn, as did a young woman who was watching the parade there in 2015. Her future groom was riding on his Bexley High School class reunion’s float in the parade but jumped off at the Edisons’ house, knowing his girlfriend – now wife – was there. He asked her to marry him, and she agreed.
So much for independence.
Mark Ebner, CEO of Ebner Properties, walked in this year’s parade as part of the reunion of Eastmoor High School’s class of 1979. He said he enjoys being in the Bexley parade “and seeing longtime friends along the way. The parade is reflective of the warm camaraderie that epitomizes the neighborhood.”
The 2019 edition of the Bexley July Fourth parade was a first for Ronnie Conn, the new chief operating officer of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. Moving with his young family to Bexley from Los Angeles, he began his new job July 1.
“I have lived here just a week and we are already invited to someone’s house,” he said. “We are thrilled to be at the parade because we heard so much about this wonderful tradition.”
Rabbi Stephen Weiss, senior rabbi at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in the Cleveland-suburb of Pepper Pike, also took part in celebrating at the Bexley parade. Attending the parade for the first time, he said he was thrilled to be there with his daughter, Rivka Cohen, who married a Bexley native, Aron Cohen. Weiss’ family was hosted by their son-in-law’s parents, Rob and Wendy Cohen, Bexley residents and parade veterans.
“The Bexley parade is fun,” Weiss said. “It is heimish. There is a strong sense of community in Bexley.”
He said he was also pleased to note some of the Jewish participants in the parade, including floats created by Columbus Jewish Day School in New Albany and Columbus Torah Academy in Columbus.
“It’s nice to see them being part of the celebration,” Weiss said.
Tami Kamin Meyer writes for the Columbus Jewish News from Bexley.