LIMA — Scores of people young and old lined the streets Saturday to take in the Allen County Fair parade, the longest parade in Lima. The parade route stretched from Kibby Street to Main Street through Town Square to High Street and making its home stretch down Pierce and McDonel streets, ending at Broadway Street.
Fair director John Gross estimated this year’s parade to be about the same length as the year before.
“We’ve got a little over 80 units,” he said, “along with eight bands performing. Every band in the county except Bluffton was able to come and perform.”
With all of those units participating, punctuality was a must for organizers.
“That’s one thing about us,” Gross said. “We start on time. If you’re not here by 9:45 a.m., you won’t get in.”
Immediately following the Ohio State Highway Patrol cars at the head of the parade was the Allen County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, and for Deputy Glenn Bloomfield, he was happy to be able to participate.
“I enjoy doing this, and it’s an honor,” he said. “It means a lot.”
Along with the aforementioned high school marching bands, several local politicians and political groups took the time to mingle with the crowd and pass out candy, fliers and stickers. That included the Allen County chapters of both major political parties, as well as politicians Keith Faber and Bob Cupp, as well as judicial candidate Carlene Huston-Kinworthy and current Judge Glenn Derryberry.
“Our daughter and granddaughter are walking with the Allen County Democratic Party,” Renita Green said. She and her husband, William, were able to find prime space near the front of the parade route on West Kibby Street.
“It’s great to see them marching,” William Green said.
WIMA radio personality and parade announcer Mike Miller sat with the parade judges in Town Square and, for him, the parade was as much about the spectators as it was about the people in the parade.
“I like the bands, but I appreciate the people that come out and enjoy it,” he said. “A good parade is a celebration of the community.”
Miller maintained that Lima can take a lot of pride in its ability to put on a good parade.
“This town has a great history of parades,” he said. “We’re just a few weeks away from the Labor Day Parade, and we’ve already had the Memorial Day Parade earlier this year, along with the Irish Parade in the spring. So that’s four decent parades on an annual basis, which is pretty good.”
As children gathered a variety of candies and other goodies tossed out by parade walkers Saturday, Miller was grateful to see so many families come out and have some good, old-fashioned fun.
“In this era of technology, it’s so easy for people to get jaded,” he said. “I keep encouraging people to come on out to events like this.”