GOSHEN — An estimated 25,000 people came out to watch the Elkhart County 4-H Fair parade on Sunday, both at the fairgrounds and in the streets, where people camped out to watch.
Community groups, 4-H clubs, businesses and politicians used the parade to introduce themselves, many of the 114 entries showing off elaborate floats, horses or vehicles.
On the route into the fairground were Dustin and Martha Mishler and their children, who liked the fire trucks in particular.
“We normally sit here. We like getting in front of the parade and then going to the fair,” Dustin said.
Some drivers hoping to get out of the fairgrounds were blocked in by the 90-minute parade. Some drivers appeared to join the parade in an effort to get out of the parking lots.
“It was good -- a lot longer than normal, but it was good,” Dustin said.
Fair President Josh Culp said that may have been due to trains passing through the parade route, leading to a few breaks between entries and leading some people to believe the parade was over a couple of times.
Mishler said the parade is a good way of celebrating the local community and culture.
“It’s what it’s about. You throw a bunch of stuff in a parade and let everyone look at it, so it’s pretty cool,” he said.
Culp was on one of the first horse-drawn carriages reaching the fair grandstand, where he stepped off and welcomed the spectators.
“My ride was great,” he said. “I had a great time.”
The fair president had praise for the other parade entries as well, some of which decorated their floats in the theme that Culp selected for this year’s fair: 4-H, the information highway to the future.
“The 4-H clubs are always fantastic to look at. We saw the winning float, and it was fantastic, I mean perfect” he said.
That was the Jacksonian-Producers 4-H Club, which had a switchboard and three telephone poles running a cable to a computer, telephone and barn.
“It represented the New Paris area and the theme so well,” said Culp.
The parade is an opportunity to celebrate the local community, according to the fair president.
“It is a chance for the community to get together behind something and show off what they have,” he said.
The parade began while temperatures were still high, but rain slowly started coming down toward the end of the parade before turning in to such bad weather that the fair was closed for the remainder of the day around 4:45 p.m.
That meant the cancellation of the free Jordan Kirkdorffer concert that was scheduled for 8 p.m. at the grandstand. The concert will not be rescheduled, according to Culp.
“When you have an open air show area, that’s what happens, unfortunately,” he said.
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