Baglio's of Afton owners named grand marshals for Afton Fourth of July Parade
When Bill and Lisa Baglio opened their women's clothing store in 1986 they said they felt instantly at home.
"It's a great small town," Bill said. "There's some really really neat people.
"We could run the store anywhere, but we just can't imagine anywhere but here."
The St. Mary's Point residents and owners of Baglio's of Afton have been named grand marshals for the 2012 Afton Fourth of July Parade.
"We always look for people who volunteer in the community or help out the community and Bill has been a huge supporter for years," said Stan Ross, president of the Afton Historical Society and member of the Fourth of July Committee. "You can always count on him."
Planting roots in Afton
Bill and Lisa Baglio had just gotten married in 1986 when they saw that the former bank building in Afton's Old Village was up for sale.
Lisa, who runs the business, said she had always wanted to open her own shop.
"I loved the idea of having fun with people," she said. "If you look good, you feel better."
The Baglios called about the bank property and the rest is history.
"We called the guy, met with him and signed the lease the very next day," Bill said. "We kind of just did it."
Baglio's of Afton is unique from other clothing boutiques since it carries primarily local designers.
"I think it was something that was missing," Lisa said. "There wasn't a lot of that."
The shop became successful enough that they were able to purchase a larger space just across the street.
Over the years Bill and Lisa Baglio can be found lending a helping hand when it is needed. Bill, who owns his own construction business, is eager to step up and help with flood preparations, building projects and other projects throughout the city.
Lisa is a major player in the monthly Afton Ultimate Ladies Night Out.
"(Helping out) just came with the territory," Bill said.
When the Fourth of July Committee first approached Bill and Lisa Baglio about being this year's grand marshals, they were met with some hesitation.
"My first reaction was 'Absolutely not,'" Bill said. "But then I started thinking about it and that's pretty neat because we do love this town."
Bill said being the grand marshal had an extra incentive for him as well.
"The best thing about this is I get to unseat Ken," Bill said of last year's grand marshal, Afton Public Works Director Ken Johnson. "He's been milking this grand marshal thing for the whole year."
Lisa said she thought being named the grand marshals was "neat."
"I think of Bill as more of the grand marshal. I'm just here for the ride in the parade," she said.
The Baglios are no strangers to the Afton Fourth of July Parade, however; they've had a business float in the parade since they opened the store.
"I've never seen the parade, I've always been in the parade," Bill said. "There's never a question of what we're going to do on the Fourth."
Lisa said her favorite part of the Fourth of July Parade is the small town feel.
"I love some of the hokeyness of it all," she said.
This year's parade will be at noon on July 4 through Afton's Old Village.
The day will consist of live music by the Zingrays in Town Square Park, food vendors, the Afton Museum beer tent and children's games.
Last year's parade drew more than 20,000 people, Ross said.
"The town looks best crowded like that," Bill said.
Both Ross and Bill agree that the best part of the Afton Fourth of July Parade, and what makes it unique, is that there is no registration.
"Kind of the fun thing about the parade is it's not planned," Ross said. "We don't really try and stage it.
"I find the not knowing who's going to show up the most fun - I think that's a hoot."
Bill said he always likes seeing the variety of floats.
"You can have elaborate floats, not really corporate floats, but at the same time you can have a little kid walking a dog with an American flag," he said. "Anybody can enter, so you never know what you're going to see."
Bill said the grand marshal float, in which he and Lisa will be riding, will be pulling the Baglio's of Afton float.
The Baglios both said they are looking forward to this year's parade.
"I can unseat Ken, that's my main objective," Bill said. "All joking aside, it's a big honor to be chosen as the grand marshals."