Sheep, politicians and the Gardner Edgerton High School marching band will help make the Johnson County Fair parade a wild and wooly time on Saturday morning. The annual parade starts at 10:30 a.m., but traffic will be disrupted long before then.
Parade participants will start lining up at 8:30 a.m. checking in at a GE District building off Madison Street and filling the roads and parking lots around Wheatridge Middle School and Gardner Elementary School.
According to Delbert Sawyer, one of the parade organizers, streets around the school complex will shut down by 8 a.m.
“You won’t be coming in on any other streets other than Madison,” Sawyer said. “The parade route will be shut down at 10 a.m. Barricades will go up. At 10:30 a.m. sharp, the first units are on the route and away we go.”
This year’s parade will resemble parades of yesteryear, but there will be one new feature.
“We’ve made arrangements with a guy who has homing pigeons,” organizer Gini Liveley said. “So we’re going to be letting homing pigeons out by the judging station. They’ll fly around and then go home. That’s new and different.”
The homing pigeons will be released at the start of the parade in front of city hall.
“We’re still the only parade in the state of Kansas that does the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’” Sawyer said. “We salute America.”
And then horses, emergency vehicles, wild-n-wooly theme sheep, floats – and of course, politicians – will start making their way through town.
It’s an election year, so Sawyer said, “Of course, there’s politicking this year.”
Parade organizers will try to line all of the politicians up in front of Gardner Elementary School, Sawyer said.
“A lot of politicians like to go out and work the crowds before hand,” Sawyer explained. “That location lets them get out on the streets, talk to people and then they can get back to the floats. So we help them out that way.”
By Friday afternoon, organizers had more than 60 parade entries. They expect to nearly double that in time for Saturday’s parade. The entrants will be announced in two separate places – the judges’ tables in front of city hall and at the corner of Sycamore Street and Main Street. They’ll be judged in a variety of different categories.
The event should last between an hour and an hour and a half, and viewers will know they’ve seen it all when they see the final parade entrant – a car with “That’s all Folks!” on its sides.
The parade entrants will start and finish their trek through town at Wheatridge Middle School. From there, they’ll head south on Sycamore Street toward Main Street. On Main, the parade will travel west to Pine Street north to Washington Street, before taking a block-long jaunt north on Walnut Street and heading east on Shawnee Street back to the middle school.
The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m.
“The whole idea is to have fun,” Sawyer said. “It brings a lot of people to town.”
On the Web:
Johnson County Fair: www.jocokansasfair.com