Fair PARADE 201619.jpg

It may be February, but planning is already underway for the Washington Town & Country Fair Parade, scheduled for Sunday, July 29.

Each year, a grand marshal and honor group are selected to lead the parade.

Last year, for the first time, the parade committee developed a process for members of the community to submit nominations for the honors.

Amanda Griesheimer, marketing director for the Fair and Washington Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Fair Board wants to recognize an outstanding individual and organization that improve the community through service, leadership and volunteerism.

Nominations are being accepted now. Nomination forms are available at the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce office at 323 W. Main St. or can be downloaded at washmofair.com.

“We will hold on to past nominations for a couple of years so those sent in last year will still be considered,” Griesheimer said. “The parade committee will review all of the nominations and then make a recommendation to the Fair Board who will make the final decision.”

Nominations are due by March 31, she said, and the grand marshal and honor group will likely be announced in May. Completed forms can be returned to the Chamber Office or emailed to office@washmofair.com.

The Fair parade will begin at 4 p.m. July 29. The theme will be same as the Fair — “Your Bridge to Fun.” The parade and a walk/run are held the weekend before the Fair opens to build excitement for the five-day festival.

Last year, longtime Washington City Administrator Jim Briggs was the grand marshal. Briggs retired last year after serving 41 years as city administrator. The honor group was the city of Washington.

In 2016, then Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke was the grand marshal and the Multi-County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit was the honor group.

Longtime community volunteer Vince Borgerding led the parade in 2015, along with a group of five young volunteers — Sophie Straatmann, Justine Huellinghoff, Ellie Scheer, Maggie Westhoff and Britney Harriman — who helped raise money for the Jaycees All-Abilities Park.

For the 2014 Fair parade, the two people who were instrumental in getting the parade started, Dave Wehmeyer and Judy Tobben, served as the grand marshals. Sharing the spotlight with Wehmeyer and Tobben were past parade chairmen.