The Washington Fair doesn’t open until Wednesday, but two weekend activities are planned to get residents excited about the five-day festival.
A run/walk will take place Saturday at 7 a.m. and the annual parade will be held Sunday at 4 p.m., one hour earlier than in the past.
“The pre-Fair events are always a lot of fun and really get people in the mood for the Fair,” said Al Behr, chairman.
“We encourage people to come out to one or both — it’s gonna be a blast,” added Behr, referencing this year’s theme, Summer’s Last Blast.
The run/walk will begin at the city park pavilion behind the concert stage at the fairgrounds.
The five-mile run begins at 7 a.m. followed by a two-mile walk at 7:05 a.m. and then a one-mile fun run for kids 12 and younger at 8 a.m.
People can register the morning of the event, beginning at 6:15 a.m. The cost is $20.
Prizes will be awarded and a post-race party is planned with food and refreshments.
The parade will follow the same route as years past. It will begin at Circle Drive and High Street, near the city pool.
It will then travel south on High to Fifth Street; east on Fifth to Jefferson Street; north on Jefferson to Main Street; and west on Main, ending near the Main and Elm parking lot.
This year’s grand marshal is longtime United Way executive director Paula Obermark, who recently retired, and the honorary group will be the United Way with board members and agency representatives riding in a special tram decorated by Hillermann Nursery & Florist.
Obermark will ride in a horse-drawn stagecoach, sponsored by Wells Fargo.
The parade will feature about 103 entries, including floats, marching bands, the Shriners Yomo mini patrol, UTVs and motocross bikes, fire trucks and many service organizations, Scout troops and other children’s groups.
The 25 Fair queen candidates will ride in convertibles, along with the 2012 Fair Queen and her court. The Fair Board also will ride on a special tram.
The judging location will be at Main and Lafayette streets. Awards will be presented at the after-party immediately following the parade at Main and Elm streets.
The number of entries was purposely scaled back this year to shorten the parade and the start time moved up one hour earlier to give people more time to enjoy the after-party which will feature live music, food and refreshments.
In the event of inclement weather, people should check Facebook and the Fair’s website, washmofair.com, for updates in case the parade has to be rescheduled. The rain date is Monday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m.