Perhaps a U.S. Postal Service uniform would have been an appropriate addition to the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce Halloween Parade.
While lacking its typical turnout, neither rain nor gloom of night kept a still large contingent of people from turning out to the annual parade.
“My parents brought me here,” said Marilyn, who had brought her two young daughters to the parade. “We never missed. Now the girls love to come. It is a family tradition.”
Ten-year-old Gerri said she loved coming to the parade every year.
“This is a really good parade,” Gerri said. “It is really long and there is always a lot of candy passed out.”
With the weather affecting the turnout, the children who did brave the cold, rainy and windy conditions received a bounty of treats along the way. Two brothers, Jonathan and Michael, ages 7 and 4, displayed bags stuffed to the hilt as if they were prize trophies.
During the event, the Wapakoneta Art Club float was awarded the Mayor’s Award. Wal-Mart captured both the Grand Marshall’s award and the Halloween Spirit award. The Lion’s Club captured the Best Service Organization float and Charme had the Best Business float.
Community Market Grocery received the Best Business float award and Apollo Career Center for Best Youth Group. The Wapakoneta Band was awarded Best Marching Band and the Wapakoneta Breakfast Optimist were awarded Best Marching unit.
Chamber Executive Director Dan Graf estimated approximately 5,000 people attended, which is about half of the normal crowd.
“A lot of people came out considering the weather,” Graf said. “A lot of people came a little late but that was understandable. We got one call yesterday from someone that wanted to know if the parade was still on because they said they had a 3 1/2-hour drive. That is kind of a clue that this parade draws from a wide area.”
Garf said alterations had to be made to some floats due to the weather. Some decorations or sound systems providing music had to be taken off of several floats.
“We give special thanks to those entries who braved the weather,” Graf said. “We also appreciated the bands for sticking in there.”
It was estimated approximately 30 of the parade’s 102 entries dropped out due to the weather.
Graf said the tradition of the parade goes back more than 70 years. At one time, it was celebrated as a three-day event which included sidewalk sales and special theater shows at the movie theater.