Marion celebrates community with annual parade
MARION -- Saturday afternoon was hot and humid in Marion as moms, dads, kids, friends and neighbors gathered along Main Street for a highly anticipated summer tradition--the Grand Parade.
The parade is a highlight of Marion Days (formerly known as Old Fashion Days), a celebration held annually in August for both Marion residents and hundreds of visitors who come from villages and towns throughout the area.
Some found the perfect vantage spot on front porches, others lounged under shade trees and many lined the street, standing or relaxing in folding chairs waiting for the familiar sights and sounds of a hometown parade.
A patriotic crowd cheered as the first marchers came into view, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6015 who walked proudly at the head of the parade carrying the American flag and setting the tone for a gala succession of floats and wagons to come.
Taking part were area businesses, clubs and organizations, school groups, churches, elected officials and candidates seeking votes in the upcoming elections. There were also bicycles, vintage cars and trucks, convertibles, tractors, motorcycles, firetrucks and crowd favorites, riders on horseback.
Members of the Marion High School class of 1962 came together to design a colorful float and celebrate school days as they waved and greeted friends in the crowd.
Children along the route scrambled to catch packets of candy tossed to the crowd by members of Marion Baptist Church riding in the church bus. The packets also contained an invitation to all area children to attend Vacation Bible School Aug. 6 - 10, from 9 - 11:30 a.m. daily.
“I like to come to the parade because they always throw candy,” said 8-year-old Evan Wilson. Evan came with his brother, 5-year-old Dylan and other members of his family to enjoy a summer outing.
“We’ve been coming as a family for years,” said Evan’s mother, Amy Wilson from Marion. “Today we’re here with three generations, and it’s a great way for families to spend time together and be a part of the community.”
Connie Riedel came to the parade with her son, Brian, from Marion. Connie was raised in Marion and now lives in Mt. Pleasant. “I come to the festivities on Thursday and stay all weekend,” she said. “It’s something I do every year to see old neighbors and catch up on all the news with kids I went to school with. It’s good to come back to the hometown atmosphere.”
Marion Days will take place again next August. To learn more about the 2013 schedule of activities, watch for announcements on the Marion Chamber of Commerce website, www.marionmichigan.com.