West Liberty might as well have been called Candy Land on Sunday, July 13, as the opening fair parade kicked off the Muscatine County Fair with showers of candy.
This led to the annual Picnic in the Park festival at Kimberly Park, an event stuffed with food vendors, family and free swimming.
"I think it all went really well," said West Liberty Chamber Director Priscilla Haessig. "I was really nervous at first, but it's been going on for a number of years and people just know where to go."
Both events are time honored traditions in West Liberty, put into place by its Chamber of Commerce. This was Haessig's first time heading it all up, former director Letha Ottaway took charge of the events before her retirement earlier this year.
"Everyone seemed very pleased and it all went very smoothly," added Haessig, who seemed just as relieved to see her first major task as director completed.
Attendance for both events was lower than last year; however, that has to do with timing.
Last year West Liberty was celebrating its 175th Anniversary. At the same time the All School Reunion brought hundreds of WL graduates to town during the parade and Picnic in the Park.
But, the community still flooded downtown to watch the parade. The march hosted lines of emergency vehicles, tractors, cars, floats and horses. Each passing showered children with more candy than they knew what to do with.
For 10-year-old Connor Bierman of Moscow, the parade was much more than his half gallon bag stuffed with candy.
"It was cool, there were a lot of cars," he said. "My favorite one was the one with the squirt guns."
Not far away sat Abbey Campbell, 10, from Minnesota, who joined her West Liberty family for the parade. "I liked it and I liked the horses," she said, "The people on them dressed nice."
West Liberty Foods took first for business decorated floats, they also took the traveling trophy. Nicole Rock School of Dance came in second followed by Wink's in the category.
After the parade the community gathered in Kimberly Park for Picnic in the Park. The pool was open for free swimming as the five piece band, 5 of Hearts, played for the masses.
Atalissa Church of Christ served pies, St. Joseph's Church served tacos, the WL Rotary Club served turkey and First Church United brought ribs. Other foods included kettle corn, lemonade shake ups and sweet corn on the cob.
Metromix, the Democratic Party, LiUNA and State Farm ran information booths as the event kicked off in the heat of the day.
However, rolling clouds and rain eventually pushed the crowd home around 5:30 p.m. Despite the mild shower it was a full day that helped begin the Muscatine County Fair on Wednesday, July 16.
As for other parade results, for the 4-H category Wapsie 4-H came in first, the Goshen Gladiators in second and Fulton, of Muscatine, in third. Jim Stockman, Hills, won first in Antique Tractors, he was followed by Orville Esmoil of Muscatine and Don Pelzer of West Liberty respectfully.
In the Antique Cars and Trucks Category, Wilton's Lester Brenner came in first, West Liberty's Gary Robbins in second and Pleasant Prairie's Randy and Cathy Schumaker came in third.
When it comes to horses, in the individual category first went to Kathy Lyon of Clarence, second to Susan Finn of Muscatine and third to Jose Juarez of Riverside. In the group category first went to Filerios of West Liberty, second to Jose Quiroc of Columbus Junction and third to El Familia in West Liberty.
Those who came in first received a blue ribbon, those in second a red and those in third a white.
Parade kicks off fair festivitiesJacob Lane · Wednesday, July 16, 2014