The Grand Marshal for this year’s Fourth of July Parade is beloved and long-time Lakesider Carolyn McDaniel. She will be joined by special guest, Lakesider Marky Beatty.
Carolyn is no stranger to Lakeside or the community’s unique Fourth of July Parade, in fact, she has been a special part of both for decades.
She was first introduced to Lakeside in the 1940s when her parents brought youth from their church to camp. She attended the camp as a high schooler and served as a camp counselor for five years. Carolyn spent much of her life returning to Lakeside to vacation with her husband, Mike, and two daughters, Emily and Rebecca.
Her first full summer at Lakeside was in 1994 after her husband’s passing. With the help of Carolyn’s brother, Dan, she rented a cottage and got a job working as the “Playground Lady” for eight summers. In 2002, Lakeside asked her to work at the miniature golf course, a position she has proudly held and managed ever since.
Carolyn’s brother later helped her purchase a cottage right outside the gates of Lakeside and continues to live here year-round. As a year-round resident, she worked with handicapped children at Port Clinton High School for 12 years, at a local preschool, and later at Danbury Schools until her recent retirement.
“I love being here year-round,” she says. “It’s so busy in the summer and so peaceful in the winter.”
Throughout her many years at Lakeside, one of Carolyn’s biggest achievements has been organizing the Fourth of July Parade. The first time she was involved in the parade festivities was during her first full summer at Lakeside where she was asked to help carry the flag.
When she started working at mini golf, she also took charge of the parade — organizing, registering and compiling the order of the many golf carts, antique cars and unique floats.
“My favorite part of the parade is figuring out where everyone will go in the lineup,” she says. She also notably prays for no rain each year.
This year, instead of only planning and organizing the parade, Carolyn will lead it as the honorary Grand Marshal.
“I was so surprised when Shirley [Stary] asked me to be the Grand Marshal,” shares Carolyn. “It is exciting.”
Carolyn’s granddaughters, Harper and Piper, will sit alongside her in the parade, a special memory she’s looking forward to sharing with them.
Marky Beatty will also be joining the Grand Marshal car as a special guest. He is the son of long-time Lakesiders Randy and Becky Donithan.
Marky first came to live with the Donithans from the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation when he was just 3 years old. He is now 42. He shares a special bond with Carolyn. They met at a Lakeside playground where she was working.
Marky has Cerebral Palsy and a severe hearing loss, yet despite these challenges, he has conquered many obstacles, has had more surgeries than one can count, and remains one of the most adaptable, positive and fun-loving souls you will ever meet.
He has been coming to Lakeside since he was 4 years old and loves it more than anything.
“We’re so appreciative of how the community has opened their hearts to him,” says Becky. “He seems to be very well-known, as Randy and I are mostly known these days as ‘Marky’s parents.’”
Marky has been living in an Individualized Design Living Arrangement Home for people with disabilities with two roommates and staff for the last 10 years in Glendale, Arizona, close to where Randy and Becky live in the winter.