We love a parade!

CJ Warson · Tuesday, July 18, 2017
By Sunday morning, many West Libertarians had already reserved their spots for the fair parade that afternoon.

Just like every year, people lined the streets of the route the ever popular fair parade would take.

“People look forward to it every year,” Priscilla Haessig said. “It’s a big event. I mean, people had their chairs in their yards this morning around 8 a.m.”

Haessig was one of the people in charge of making sure the parade went smoothly. She and other members of the Chamber worked to get the parade set up and ready to go.

The parade participants didn’t have to pre-register to join in. Anyone that showed up with floats, tractors, horses or a vehicle could get in, right then and there.

“Since we didn’t register, we don’t have a number,” said Haessig. “We usually reach at least a hundred entries between cars, trucks and floats.”

This year the route had to be slightly different from past years. The route ended up being 2.2 miles because it went up an extra block.

“We had to change it this year just because Maxson Avenue’s closed down,” Haessig said. “So they have to go an extra block more than usual.”

Besides the length of the route, there was something else different about this year’s route over by City Hall.

“This year we’re doing something different,” Haessig said. “We have someone at City Hall and he’s going to try to announce them as they go by.”

The announcer called out the first, second and third place winners of each participant group as they passed by.

There were judges for each section of the parade who decided how well each entrant did based on various criteria.

“We get three volunteers that come in and judge, and then we do have a rubric if they want to use it,” Haessig said.

Two of those volunteers who judged the “Group Decorate Floats” category were Vince Ottaway and Gwen Kessler.

“It’s pretty liberal from our standpoint,” Ottaway said. “We try and go off of how much time and effort was put into the float.”

There were different things that different judges were looking for depending on the section that people were in.

“We’re just judging by creativity and theme,” Kessler said.

They also try to think about other aspects of why things should get the place that they deserve.

“With the kids you have to put into consideration the quality compared to the business,” Ottaway said. “Some of the businesses have really nice different floats, but they have people that can spend time.”

Following the parade, people were treated to a great time over in Kimberly Park during the annual Picnic in the Park.

“This year we had games for the kids, which was new,” Haessig said.

Children’s games included an egg toss, hula hoop contest, bubble blowing contest and a three-legged race.

“Free swimming is always a big attraction for the kids,” Haessig said. “There was also the puppet show “Sal Fink, Catfish Wrangler”, put on by the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre.”

There are a lot of crowd favorites that return every year for Picnic in the Park.

“There is always a long line at the St. Joseph taco stand each year,” Haessig said. “This year there were long lines at several vendor locations, including a new one, “El Taquito”.”

In the future, they’re hoping to keep the kids games, but hope to have a bigger turnout for them. That will help the Chamber to decide whether they will keep having them or not.

“Figuring out what to do for entertainment is usually the biggest decision to be made,” Haessig said. “Hopefully we can get more participation in the kids’ games, which were organized at the last minute by Jason Thrasher.”

The results of first, second and third place finishes of each section of the parade are as follows:

4-H Floats:

1) Goshen Gladiators, West Liberty

2) Fulton 4-H, Muscatine

3) Wapsi 4-H, West Liberty

Business Decorated Floats Traveling Trophy – WL Foods:

1) Simpson Home

2) Nicole Rock’s Dance Studio

3) Liberty Dance

Group Decorate Floats:

1) Latinos Unidos

2) Cedar Valley United Methodist Church

3) Wilton Football Cheer

Antique Cars:

1) Donna and Mark Heacock, Iowa City, 48 Plymoth B Coupe

2) John Gafeller, WL, 87 Mustang LX Convertible

3) Penny Gafeller, WB, 69 Mustang

Antique Tractors:

1) Loren Hochstedler, Kalona, B John Deere

2) Orville Esmoil, Muscatine, Avery

3) Gary Robbins, WL, M Farmall


1) Don Schultz, Tipton

2) Larry Brooks, Atalissa

3) Felipe Molina , WL


1) Karolyn and Kallie Broderson, Muscatine

2) Eldon and Lois Downs, Tipton

3) Larry Brooks, Atalissa
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