Parade opens, closes evenings

Published 12:54 pm Friday, August 12, 2011

The 4-H band plays as the daily parade heads past food stands at the Mower County Fair Friday. -- Eric Johnson/

Although it only lasts 15 minutes and consists of about 20 floats, the daily Mower County Fair parade is more than a march through the fairgrounds — it signifies the start of the nightly festivities and grandstand events.

The daily parade heads past the barn area Thursday at the Mower County Fair.

“It’s a kick off to the evening, right after the crowd starts gathering,” said fair director Ken Trom. “Everything kind of comes to a standstill when the parade comes. Everybody stops what they’re doing and watches.”

Leading the parade every year since its inception seven years ago has been Vietnam War veteran Arnie Earl as the honor guard. He said he volunteered for the job and has participated every day of the fair since.

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“And the grandkids love it,” he added.

Trom said they like to have a different grand marshal every day, and the musical and comedy act “Tina & Lena” led Thursday’s parade.

Trom said the act, which is back after a two-year hiatus, is a favorite of senior fair-goers.

Sue “Tina” Edwards, of Alexandria, and Annette “Lena” Hustad, of Glenwood, have participated in the Mower County Fair for 11 years and said they have enjoyed it every time.

“We’re very, very pleased to be back,” Edwards said. “(The fair) is a great place to cheer on kids in 4-H, and the food is not bad at all.”

Hustad added that being named grand marshal Thursday was “quite a nice surprise.”

While the Minnesota State Fair’s parade is a big event, parades are not as common at county fairs, and Trom said it adds something unique to the Mower County Fair.

“It’s just a real nice addition to the festivities and activities,” he said.

The parade starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.