Everybody always loves the parade
As with every year, thousands of people will be flooding into Baldwin City Saturday morning for the annual Maple Leaf Festival parade.
This year's theme is "Celebrate 48! What made Baldwin great?" Parade Organizer Lloyd Lam is hoping people show them what made this city great.
"I thought it was kind of neat," Lam said. "Why is Baldwin great? We hope people show us what made it great or why it is great."
Lam doesn't think the theme will be too hard to decorate around.
"I am always amazed and I really enjoy the parade," Lam said. "It never ceases to amaze me what people come up."
Nancy Crisp, Maple Leaf Festival committee chairman, said the theme has been hard to interpret for some people.
"It's been a confusing theme," Crisp said. "Our intent is to honor the history of Baldwin. We were hoping to be general on what made Baldwin great. We hope they show us what made it great."
The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the corner of Third and High streets and is expected to last one hour, shorter than it has in the past few years. It will travel west on High Street to Eighth Street, where it will turn north and finish at the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center.
As of Friday, the parade has 10 bands and 10 floats entered, but more entries could come by Saturday.
Ronald McDonald is making his return to the Maple Leaf Festival this year. Lam said there will also be some interesting military stuff. As usual there will also be car clubs, the Shriners and horses.
Of course the parade also includes this year's Grand Marshals, who are Dan and Carolyn Lambert.
Lam said each year he is too busy making sure everyone is in the right place and things run smoothly, that he doesn't get a chance to watch the parade.
"I have never seen the parade," Lam said. "I'm always helping everybody get to their places. I then help the judges get to the corner of Eighth and High streets."
Lam's wife Joy also helps organize the parade, and she might even do more work than her husband.
"My wife does most of the work and I do most of the talking," Lam said. "I enjoy meeting people and talking to people. I know many of them, because they have been in the parade before. Some of them try throwing candy to me, but all I require is chocolate."
The parade has seen in the tens of thousands of people in past years, so arriving early is not a bad idea, according to Lam.
"I think it's the small town atmosphere that keeps people coming to it each year," Lam said. "We're small enough to be small and large enough to be fun. I really think people think the parade kicks off the whole weekend."
Crisp said parades aren't something that all festivals have, which helps make this one extra special.
"A parade tends to be a rare kind of thing," Crisp said. "It's a special thing that people can hear and see colorful and exciting things. It draws a big crowd, which is something we have come to love and hate."
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