Sunday was the perfect day to wind down the Grundy County Corn Festival with a midday parade.
With temperatures not too hot and the right mix of clouds for shade, thousands lined the streets in and around downtown Morris to view the myriad floats, vehicles and walkers representing Grundy County and beyond.
Janet Matteson and her family members make the Corn Fest Parade a yearly tradition, she said. She’s been living in the Morris area for more than 50 years and comes every year.
It’s a good opportunity to see her granddaughter and grandson march in the parade as well.
Matteson’s favorite this year was the number of Shriners that participated.
“I love the Shriners,” Matteson said. “They had their motorcycle unit, bagpipes and an airplane on wheels. That was really nice.”
In fact, the Shriners made an extra strong showing in this year’s parade, said parade Chairwoman Colleen Donahue.
“The Grand Potentate is coming this year,” Donahue said a few days beforehand. “He was originally from Grundy County.”
The Corn Festival celebrated its 65th year and the parade has been part of the tradition for nearly as long, Donahue said.
“It gives everybody a chance to see their kids and friends in a different setting,” she said. “Everyone in the parade comes out as a volunteer for the business or organization they support.”
Anthony Vaira, 6, of Joliet came downtown with his aunt, Georgana Vaira.
“I liked the karate,” Anthony said, referring to several martial arts schools that were in the parade.
Georgana Vaira used to come to Morris a lot when she was younger. The parade was a good opportunity to bring her young nephew.
As he munched on a large stick of cotton candy, Anthony chatted about a few more of the things he did during the festival over the weekend, including the carnival rides and riding with no hands on a pony.
With 156 entrants this year, the parade committee had its hands full in the months and weeks before the parade. A small group of five or six volunteers are the ones behind the scenes, Donahue said.
“They help us put on a great parade and make it safe for everybody,” Donahue said. “They do it because they love it and they love the community.”
When the last of the line-up filtered through downtown, people packed up their chairs and collected their belongings. Some mulled around just a little longer to share what a great day it turned out to be.
“You couldn’t beat the weather,” Matteson said. “It was a beautiful day.”
For anyone who missed the live action, the parade can be viewed on the Corn Festival website, thanks to Grundy Area Vocational Center students and instructor Joe Terrel. You can find a link to the parade at www.cornfestival.org.