Maple Leaf parade will draw thousands again
Every year at the same time, children and adults alike line the streets of Baldwin City to watch clowns, fire trucks, floats, antique cars and marching bands make their way through the downtown area.
This year's Maple Leaf Festival parade will feature all of the same favorites, parade chairman Lloyd Lam said.
"There will be tractors and cars and clowns and Shriners and scouts," Lam said. "We'll still have all those things as well as maybe a surprise or two."
This year's parade, which will be 11 a.m. Saturday, will start at First and High streets and make its way to Eighth Street. The parade will continue north on Eighth and end at Chapel Street.
Lam said the parade, which will last about an hour, features 10 to 15 floats, 20 area junior high, high school and university marching bands and the grand marshals, the Baldwin area firefighters.
"The parade is a central part of the Maple Leaf Festival," he said.
This year's parade theme is 2001: A Maple Leaf Odyssey. Floats using the theme will be judged for the chance to win monetary prizes. Lam said he wants float designers to be creative with the theme.
"I hope the creators surprise the daylights out of everybody," he said. "I'd like them to use colors that are bright and incorporate the maple leaf and craft booths that are so important to the festival."
He said patriotic floats will also be judged, but as a separate category. Ribbons will be awarded to the floats with the best display of patriotism.
"If anybody want to do a patriotic theme, that's fine," he said.
Last year was one of the largest parades and one of the largest spectator turnouts in Maple Leaf history, Lam said.
"The festival itself has grown in stature," he said. "Everybody tells me it was the largest parade ever last year. And there were thousands of people who came to watch the parade."
Lam said he recommends those wanting to see this year's parade show up at least an hour before the parade starts.
"People start coming early," he said. "After awhile, parking can get to be a problem."
But he said hunting for a parking space is worth it once the parade begins.
"There's always something different to see," he said.