Erath 4th of July Celebration

2011 Grand Marshal Mark E. Mencacci

 

 

    The Erath 4th of July Association is proud to announce the selection of Mark E. Mencacci as the Grand Marshal of the 65th Annual Erath 4th of July Celebration.  Mencacci is a long time resident of Erath who has dedicated his time and talents to helping the Erath community. 

           

       Mencacci was born and raised in Galveston, Texas.  He is the son of Loretta Saunier Mencacci and the late Leo Henry Mencacci.  His mother’s family is originally from Delcambre.  He graduated from O’Connel High School in 1975.  While a student there, he excelled in football and baseball, and was selected all-state in football and baseball for the state of Texas.  After graduation, Mencacci received a scholarship to play football and baseball at Ranger Junior College in Ranger, Texas. 

 

       In 1978, Mencacci met Leslie Dronet from Erath, and they married on January 5, 1980.  Mencacci then moved to Erath and began working for the Texaco Refinery in Henry.  The Mencacci’s soon became active in the Erath Jaycees.  They were members of the organization from 1981 to 1986.  As a member of the Jaycees, Mencacci helped raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and volunteered his time at the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day MDA Telethon.  The Erath Jaycees also put on several concerts in the Erath City Park, with all proceeds from the concerts benefiting the local schools.  They also held several fundraisers to help local residents with medical expenses.  It was through the Erath Jaycees that Mencacci became involved in Erath 4th of July Celebration.  The Jaycees manned the Beer Booth each year at the festival. 

              

      Mencacci became President of the Erath 4th of July Association in 1990, and served in that capacity until 1995.  Mencacci’s tenure as President was a time of transformation.  His ideas and vision continue to benefit the Erath community and the Erath 4th of July Association to this day.  Mencacci was a “hands-on” President, providing much of the labor to set up and run the festival.  When he became President, the vendor booths were set up on Edwards and Broadway Street, which meant each day the booths had to be brought in and set up after 5:00 PM and removed after the festival closed each night.  Mencacci changed the layout of the festival rides to provide room for the vendor booths to be set up on the parking lot adjacent to Edwards Street, where they could remain for the duration of the festival.  Mencacci also saw the need for a festival bandstand.  At the time, two flatbed trailers were brought in each night to serve as a bandstand.  Mencacci enlisted the help of Mr. Lee Bernard and they built the bandstand that is still in use today from the frame of a mobile home.  This bandstand has been used by many civic organizations through the years, including the Delcambre Shrimp Festival, the Abbeville Cattle Festival, and numerous fundraisers each year. 

           

      Mencacci is a trained electrician, and each night he was on the festival grounds solving electrical problems as they arose.  Many of these problems were caused by the vendor booth running extension cords to electrical poles across Edwards Street and to Broadway Street to power their booth.  Mencacci decided that it would be much safer and easier if power were provided on the festival grounds instead of at the electrical poles.  The Erath 4th of July Association paid for the materials, and Mencacci provided the labor, to run underground wiring to supply electricity to 4 electrical panels that are set up on the parking lot during the festival.  These panels are now used for all of the civic events that take place in Downtown Erath, benefiting a countless number of people and organizations. 

          

      It was during Mencacci’s time as President that the annual Erath 4th of July Bar-B-Que Cookoff was started.  This event has proven to be one of the more popular events of the festival and serves as the official “kick-off” of the celebration.  Mencacci asked that the annual 4th of July Mass be moved to the park for this event, and people continue to enjoy the annual outdoor mass.  This family friendly event has grown through the years to include a car show, an arts and crafts show, and a revival of the Children’s Parade that was so popular in the 1960s.  Mencacci continues to serve as chairman of the Fireworks Committee in charge of the Giant Fireworks Display on July 4th.

           

     Mencacci has been married to the former Leslie Dronet for the past 31 years, the daughter of Curney and Irene Dronet of Erath.  They are the very proud parents of two children, Taylor and Lindsay.  Taylor is married to Amy Landry of Erath; they have one daughter Elise and are expecting their second in December.

 

Mark Mencacci and Family
Left to right: (Daughter Lindsay, (Son) Taylor, (Daughter in law) Amy, (Granddaughter) Elise, (Wife) Leslie and Mark.

The picture above is Mark's granddaughter Elise. Check out Elise's shirt. This is how they told Mark he was selected as Grand Marshal.

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