The nation’s colors were at the forefront of the 42nd annual Crothersville Red, White & Blue Festival.
That was especially true for two events Saturday — the pet and bike parade, which have been around for at least 40 years, and the festival parade, which is conducted every year.
The pet and bike parade gives children in preschool through fourth grade an opportunity to decorate their bicycles or dress up their pets in red, white and blue.
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Gavin Wiesman, 8, and Austin Cook, 11, both of Crothersville, put patriotic decor on their bicycles.
Both went to Dollar General Store in town and found some shiny red and blue garland with silver stars and wrapped it around the frame of their bicycles.
Gavin had four small American flags on his bike, while Austin chose to place a little larger flag on his bike and hang a few clusters of red, white and blue balloons on his handlebars.
It was too difficult for the judges to name a winner, so both boys received a small cash prize, which wound up being more than they spent on their decorations.
Gavin said he’s not sure what he will do with his winnings, but Austin said he’s going to put it toward an upcoming trip with his family.
“I thought it would be really fun, and I get to see a lot of my friends,” Gavin said of why he chose to participate in the parade.
Austin said he would like to see more children participate next year because it doesn’t take much money or time.
Mason Scrogham, 6, of Jeffersonville was the only entry in the pet parade. He wore a patriotic hat and clothing and a sign with a nursery rhyme verse while pulling a wagon with his grandparents’ Maltipoo, Leo, in a cage and several red, white and blue decorations. The dog wore a patriotic hat, too.
Mason’s grandmother, Marilyn Kendall of Uniontown, helped him get ready.
“He just graduated from kindergarten, and they had Mother Goose stuff, so I thought we would keep with that theme, and we had a little dog that kind of looked like a lamb,” she said. “We didn’t want to do Little Bo-Peep, but he was Little Red, White and Blue instead of Little Boy Blue.”
Mason said he planned to put his winnings into his savings account.
Kendall said years ago, her children participated in the pet and bike parade. When her daughter was a year old, she entered a baby goat into the parade and said, “I’m only a year old and I’ve already got a kid.” Another year, her boys had bunnies in the parade and said, “Some bunny loves me.” Then another year, her daughter braided a pony’s hair.
“We just had all kinds of animals in it because they were always in 4-H,” Kendall said.
Her children also used to participate in a similar event sponsored by a group at the Jackson County Fair in which they could qualify for the state fair.
“We didn’t have much money, so we’d dress up the animals, and they would win tickets to ride rides at the fair,” Kendall said.
“I said, ‘Either you’ve got to work for the money to go on rides or you can go do the pet parade,’ so we went to the pet parade,” she said. “It was the same thing when they had animals when they got older. It was like, ‘If you want an animal, you’ve got to take it in 4-H, you’ve got to go take care of it, you’ve got to learn to show it,’ so that’s what they did. It started with the pet parade and ended up with 4-H animals.”
Kendall’s husband, Mark, said activities like the pet and bike parade are good for children because they focus on something to do outside instead of spending time on their cellphones or computers.
Festival organizer Sherry Bridges said when her daughters were younger, they would work all day on their bicycles and prepare for the parade.
At that time, she said there were about 30 children who participated.
“We have had a chicken, a pony and believe it or not a rat dressed for the parade,” she said.
A little later Saturday afternoon, people lined the streets along the festival parade route to catch a glimpse of the 36 entries.
Several children came prepared with bags for candy tossed by some of the parade participants.
Kaylie Prince, 8, of Crothersville, however, forgot her bag, so she had her grandmother, Kathleen Prince, hold all of it for her.
By the end of the half-hour parade, they had suckers, candy and a few bags of gummy bears.
Kathleen said since she had to hold all of the candy, she would get to eat it. Kaylie quickly responded with “No.”
Before eating any of the candy, Kaylie said she was going to head to the festival to buy a hot dog. She also planned to play on the inflatable amusements.
Kathleen said it was a beautiful day to get out of the house and attend the parade and festival.
She liked the old tractors and cars in the parade, while Kaylie liked the horses and also seeing her uncle, Charlie Murphy, in one of the police vehicles.
“It actually had been a long time since I had been to the parade,” said Kathleen, a lifelong Crothersville resident. “The festival, it’s like a yearly thing. We come and walk around. It’s nice. It’s a hometown thing.”
Results from the 42nd annual Crothersville Red, White & Blue Festival parade
Best overall: Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance (Patty Martin and Jackie Hare)
Float: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925
Marching unit: Boy Scout Troop 522
Commercial unit: Crothersville Police Department
Animal unit: Rescue Ryder K9 Education
Bike/four-wheeler: Patrick Sweazy
Antique car/truck: Baa Baa Black Jeep (Mark Thurman Gill)
Tractor: Dustin Metz (1953 IH Farmall Super M)
Hitch team: Caudill Farms Belgian draft horses (James and Sandra Caudill)