Sam and Beckie Jones have been selected as the 2019 Grand Marshals for the 109th annual Essex Labor Day celebration.
Originally from Shenandoah the Joneses moved to Essex in 1979. They have one child, Christopher Jones, from Clarinda that graduated from Essex High School.
The Joneses bought Johnson Locker in Essex in 1990 and both Sam and Beckie have been officers of the Essex Fire and Rescue for many years. Sam served as Fire Chief for several years and retired from the department in December of 2017. Beckie is still currently a member of Essex Fire and Rescue and is the Association Board President.
The Joneses have spent a lot of time over the years involved in activites in Essex on Labor Day. They coordinated the hot dog feed for many years and are involved in all the Essex Fire and Rescue events.
“I was very suprised,” said Beckie about being nominated as Grand Marshals. “I thought there were other people much more deserving, but the general public has convinced me otherwise.”
“Sam and Beckie are just good people,” said Melissa Chambers. “Whatever the need - daycare, school, community, youth sports, they are always willing to help out, donate, etc.”
“They are also long time Essex Community Club sponsors,” added Chambers.
This year’s theme is Cowboy Boots and Small Town Roots. Everyone is invited to celebrate and particpate in the Labor Day parade, the Jones’ will participate in the parade as well, at 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2.
New to the Labor Day celebration this year is Double S Bull Company LLC - Extreme Bull Riding Tour.
“I watched the extreme bull riding at other places and thought it would be a good fit for the Labor Day weekend,“ said Bryan Nelson. “Always looking for new ideas to improve things so I kinda took the bull by the horns I guess you could say.”
The commitee for this event includes Byran Nelson, Brian Johnson, Bill York, David Rydberg, Brian Kirchert and Melissa Chambers.
The Extreme Bull Riding Tour event in Essex is mainly paid for by sponsorships. “There have been a lot of businesses good to help us with sponsorships,” said Nelson.
The Extreme Bull Riding Tour event will be at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31 at the derby track in Essex. Admission will be $10 for adults and half price for kids.
“We expect a great crowd,” said Chambers.
Also back by popular demand is the Labor Day street dance with a beer garden and band on main street. The dance will start at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31 and will feature music from Tyler Folkerts and the Double Barrel band.
This will also mark the 50th year of the Miss Essex pageant. Forms are available at the Essex School and Essex City Hall lobby to register for the pageant.
The Essex Community Club is still accepting vendors for the Market in the Park during Labor Day weekend.
This year some new classes are avilable for the Demolition Derby which will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2.
“We are hoping to draw more drivers who participate in area events like Red Oak and Bedford and give them a chance to run those same cars,” said Chambers.
Tickets for the Demolition Derby are also available at O’Reilly Auto up until the event for $7 or $10 at the gate for all admissions.
Some ag and farm related activites for the kids to do in the park are also being added on Sunday and Monday, for free.
“So many throughout the community help to host events that add to Labor Day weekend. Some events are put on by Essex Community Club, and we manage the entire event (with insurance, advertising, etc.), but it takes lots of volunteers from lots of organizations to put on this weekend that we’re always proud of and I hope people will come out and support those organizations,” said Chambers.
For more information on all the Labor Day events you can visit www.essexiowa.com.