Archive for Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Parade always draws a crowd

October 14, 2003

Nothing about it really changes from year to year. There are marching bands, floats, antique cars and horses, typical of almost any parade.

But regardless of the familiarity, the Maple Leaf Festival grand parade continues to attract thousands of people.

"Last year, estimations were around 40,000 people," Lloyd Lam, parade organizer, said. "I wouldn't doubt that at all."

Lam said he anticipates just as many people will turn out for this year's parade.

The parade will start at the east end of High Street, work its way west to Eighth Street and then head north where it will end at the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center. It starts at 11 a.m. and is expected to last a little longer than an hour.

This year's theme is "Let Freedom Ring." Lam said the theme is a tribute to the United States.

"We're just trying this year to honor America, like we all should be," he said.

At least 13 bands, including the Baker University band, nine floats and a mounted color guard will be honoring America as part of this year's parade. Also included in the parade, Lam said, will be horses and buggies, old fire trucks, the Shriners, the Keystone Cops and a number of car clubs, including a Mustang club.

"That's always a hit in the parade, because everybody loves a Mustang," he said.

And the parade wouldn't be complete, he said, without this year's Grand Marshals, Baldwin residents Jane and Dean "Tut" Richards.

A new addition to the parade this year, he said, will be the familiar McDonald's clown, Ronald McDonald.

Taking over the job of parade emcee this year at Eighth and High streets is Bill Gray.

"That's going to be fun," Lam said. "He will lighten it up."

Those wanting to see the parade, he said, should be in Baldwin by 10 a.m. in order to get parked and find seats along the parade route.

"That way you can get yourself a good location, even though there's hardly a bad one," he said.

It will be crowded, but Lam said it's worth it.

"There's at least have a dozen things for everybody to see," he said.

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