Longtime attorney and community volunteer Steven P. Kuenzel Sr. said he’s “honored and elated” to serve as grand marshal of the upcoming Washington Town & Country Fair Parade.
Kuenzel, managing partner of Eckelkamp Kuenzel LLP, has emceed the Washington Fair Queen Contest for the past 35 years, and this year will be his last in that role. He also previously served on the Fair Board.
The honorary group to be featured will be the Washington Elks Lodge, which received The Missourian’s Washingtonian Award for longtime volunteer service to the community this past March.
The parade, now in its 25th year, will take place Sunday, July 29, at 4 p.m. — one of two pre-Fair events held to build excitement for the five-day festival. The other is a run/walk.
The Washington Fair kicks off Wednesday, Aug. 1, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 5, at the city fairgrounds.
Regina Close, parade committee chair, said the theme for the parade is the same as the Fair — “Your Bridge to Fun.”
Even though the deadline has passed, Close said her committee is still accepting last-minute entries. Currently, there are about 80 entries registered.
“Paradegoers can expect to see some of their favorites like the Moolah Shriners, the Washington High School and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School marching bands, and, of course, the fair queens,” she said.
“We have a few new floats this year as well, including Big Joel’s Safari, who you will also find at the Fair this year, Washington Green Spa & Wellness, Neighborhood Reads Bookstore and others,” she added. “We are excited to see how everyone will bring to life the fair theme.”
Entries will again have the option to be judged. Cash prizes and a trophy will be awarded to the top three floats.
Close said judging will actually happen before the parade begins this year.
“The winners will have large ribbons to place on their floats so the spectators will know who won as they make their way through town,” she said.
As in the past, no political entries are allowed.
The route will remain the same as in past years.
The Chamber will again be host to an After-Parade Party at the Farmers’ Market at the conclusion of the parade.
The party will include live music and food/drink will be available for purchase.
Close said the grand marshal will ride on a special float in the parade, followed by the honor group.
Kuenzel told The Missourian he’s looking forward to riding in the parade. He said it will be bittersweet to emcee his last queen contest.
“I will miss doing the actual contest, but not the prep work or the heat,” he joked. “I think I will be a little bit melancholy about it.”
Past Grand Marshals
Past parade grand marshals and honor groups are as follows:
2017 — Jim Briggs and city of Washington.
2016 — Sheriff Gary Toelke and Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Unit.
2015 — Vince Borgerding and Wheels for Wheels.
2014 — Dave Wehmeyer/Judy Tobben (the first parade chairmen).
2013 — Paula Obermark and United Way.
2012 — Gary Terschluse/Ron Unnerstall and Green Berets.
2011 — Rick Hopp and WVFC Auxiliary.
2010 — LB and Bonnie Eckelkamp and The BackStoppers.
2009 — Wendy Wildberger and past/present Fair Board.
2008 — World War II veterans and Franklin County Honor Flight.
2007 — Police officers shot on duty and GetKidsSafe.
2006 — Jackie Miller and Knights of Columbus.
2005 — The Missourian and Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts.
2004 — Gary Lucy and past Fair Board.
2003 — Jerry Jasper and Washington Volunteer Fire Department.
2002 — Dutch Borcherding and 5307th Composite Unit.
2001 — Don Northington and United Way.
2000 — Miss Teen Caitlin McIntosh and Washington Historical Society.
1999 — Moolah Shriners and Meals on Wheels.
1998 — Dan Buck/Show Me St. Louis Show.
1997 — Tammy Leesmann.
1996 — Canceled due to severe storms.
1995 — St. Louis Cardinals Fredbird.
1994 — Ken Kruel, 1952 Fair chairman (oldest living past chairman), and Dave Wehmeyer, 1994 Fair chairman.
For more information on any of the activities during and leading up to the Fair, visit www.washmofair.com or call the Chamber office at 636-239-2715.