The deadline is quickly approaching to enter a float in the city’s 175th birthday parade to be held Memorial Day weekend.
The parade will highlight and honor the history, traditions and generations of people who have and still call Washington home, according to Judy Tobben, parade committee co-chair. Moira Vossbrink is other co-chair.
The parade will take place Saturday, May 24, beginning at 11 a.m. in Downtown Washington.
May 24 is the actual anniversary date for Washington’s founding.
Tobben said parade applications and entry fees are due by April 21.
Entries have been slow to come in, she said. The committee sent out more than 400 letters to businesses, organizations, schools and other groups asking them to participate.
“This is such an important event and it only comes around every 25 years,” Tobben said. “For the 150th celebration, we had a huge parade with many floats and we really want that to happen again for the 175th. It was a really big deal.”
All participants are required to have decorations on their entries which reference Washington’s history. All floats must be built on a flatbed and not on the back of a pickup truck.
“We are seeking attractive floats or other entertaining entries from local organizations and businesses decorated to commemorate the city’s 175 years,” Tobben said. “We will have world-famous Clydesdales coming back. They were last here for the 150th birthday celebration. We also have a bubble truck, the Moolah Shriners and their Yomo mini patrol in the parade.”
Tobben said the entrance fee is $50 for businesses and $10 for nonprofit groups if registered by April 1.
No political entries and no alcohol will be allowed in or around the parade.
Floats will have an opportunity to be judged. Prizes will be awarded. The first-place float will win $100; second place, $75; and third place, $50.
Awards will be announced at the 175th picnic at the fairgrounds immediately following the parade.
Two informational meetings for parade participants are planned. A representative from each group is asked to attend one of the two meetings, scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, and Thursday, April 24, both beginning at 7 p.m. at the Bank of Washington, fourth floor meeting room.
The parade will begin at Second and Locust streets, near the Lucinda Owens house. Owens is the founder of Washington.
The parade will travel north on Locust to Main Street; west on Main to Elm Street; south on Elm to Fifth Street; west on Fifth to High Street; north on High to the city park swimming pool lot.
Parade officials will then direct entries to either Front Street or to the fairgrounds.
For more information, people may call 314-952-1878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The parade also will feature seven theme floats representing 175 years of Freedom, Education, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Family Life and Volunteerism.
The parade committee earlier held a contest for float sketches. The floats will be built by local service organizations with seed money from the committee.
The selected float designers will be recognized on the floats and on all parade materials, Tobben said.
“The float themes epitomize what we all love about Washington,” she said.
A community picnic with live music, food, contests and other activities will immediately follow the parade. The picnic will be held from noon to 7 p.m. in the city fairgrounds, near the main stage.
The following day, Sunday, May 25, 2014, a dedication of the Owens Monument will take place in Krog Memorial Park. Lucinda Owens and her husband are the city founders.
Another anniversary event in 2014 will be an invitational antique vehicle display Sunday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Front Street.
To help kick off the yearlong celebration, a 175th anniversary gala was held Feb. 22. A similar event was held during the city’s sesquicentennial celebration.
Co-chairs of the 175th anniversary committee are Nadine Feltmann and Joe Schneider. The committee has been meeting for about two years, and several subcommittees have been formed to help with the different activities.