LIMA — During Monday’s Labor Day parade, children lining the streets may have arrived downtown empty-handed, but they left with literal pounds of candy.
“We come every year. It’s just something fun to do,” Laurie Kirkendall said as she sat across the street from the Allen County courthouse with her daughter and granddaughter. “But I have never seen this much candy.”
In the latter half of the parade, Paislyn Metzger, 9, estimated the task to eat all that she had picked up at that point would take her “four thousand years,” and she decided to take a break. Luckily, those throwing began to aim at people’s feet to help out.
While Lima’s Labor Day parade didn’t pack the streets, most likely due to threats of rain earlier in the morning, the annual event drew plenty of families looking for a morning distraction in the marching bands, passing floats and for the kids, candy.
“She said she had hit the motherlode,” Kirkendall said.
“The weather probably kept some people away, “ Michael Hairston said. “It worked out great for us.”
Hairston and his family had set up shop a block from Town Square, and his daughters and niece had lined up chairs at an optimal candy-grabbing distance. By the end of the parade, they each held what Mikaylan Hairston, 10, guessed to be at least a solid five pounds.
“Today was a great day,” Mikaylan Hairston said.
A few blocks north, Judy Binkley was watching the parade with her granddaughters, Brianna and Brooklynn.
“I’ve been coming since my kids were marching in the parade,” Binkley said. In the 30 years she’s visited the parade, the bands and the military vehicles keep bringing her back. And it’s always a good time for the kids, she said.
Brianna, 7, said she especially enjoys watching the large tanks, which stand roughly six-feet taller than the little girl, because of their size as they rumble past.
Other parade participants included local first responders, a few political floats and more than a few union chapters, whose members fanned out with bags of candies and flyers to advertise job opportunities.
Other parade highlights included a giant saw put together by the carpenter’s union, a set-piece by the iron workers union, whose hammers rang out throughout the downtown, and — representing the Southside Spartans Boxing Gym — a boxing ring on wheels with plenty of coaches nearby demonstrating the type of training students can expect.
Jade Macwhinney, 11, said she like seeing such floats and some of the balloons in the parade, but even those things couldn’t top the real prize of the day — the month’s supply of suckers.
“The parade is fun because you get candy,” Macwhinney said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.