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