GREENFIELD — Janie Spencer and her 5-year-old niece, Jessica, set up their cooler and camping chairs along Apple Street more than an hour before the 4-H parade began, laying claim to a shaded vantage point on a sweltering Sunday.
Watching the 4-H parade, which took place Saturday in Greenfield, has become a tradition to the pair over the years, a symbol of summer’s arrival, said Spencer of Greenfield.
Hundreds of residents line the route for this year’s parade, which wound for 2 miles along several city streets, beginning and ending at the fairgrounds.
Participants from a wide range of organizations, from faith-based sports leagues to local political organizations, delighted the crowd as they streamed by, throwing jawbreakers and other sweets to hordes of spectators.
Minutes before the parade began at 2 p.m., members of the Hancock County Shrine Club fired up a fleet of miniature cars powered by lawn mower engines while others mounted tractors of all shapes and sizes.
Not far behind, police cars from local departments sounded their sirens, dazzling throngs of children along the route.
A group from Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield towed a group of 30 volunteers, made up mostly of cheerleaders and basketball players from the organization’s sports league.
David Stephenson of Greenfield, who coaches basketball for the church, said the organization chose to participate in the parade for the first time this year in hopes of spreading word about the church and its youth leagues.
But the parade represents more than a chance to promote a cause, said Stephenson, a former 10-year 4-H’er, whose 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter raise goats as part of the mini 4-H program.
The parade draws neighbors together, whether as participants or as members of the crowd, he said.
In all, 50 vehicles were signed up to drive in the parade, said Barb Pescitelli, lead organizer for the event.
As Spencer rested in the shade as the floats flowed by, Jessica stood beside Apple Street, scooping up tootsie rolls and other sweets before they melted into the hot pavement.
“It’s raining candy,” Jessica said, giggling in delight as tractors streamed by.
Dark clouds loomed over the horizon before the parade began, but the weather cooperated long enough for the parade, which lasted about an hour.
Although the heat prevailed, the floats and attractions served as an effective distraction from the temperature.
“It’s fitting; it wouldn’t be the parade if we weren’t all out here sweating like this,” Spencer said with a laugh.
Miss the parade? There’s plenty more to come. Take a look at some of the other events scheduled for today and Wednesday.
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Sheep and goat arrival
10 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Exhibit hall open
1 p.m.: 4-H Beef Show, followed by the Mini 4-H Beef Show
2 p.m.: Goat weigh-in
3 p.m.: Sheep weigh-in
5 to 9 p.m.: Commercial building open
5 p.m.: Carnival opens
6 p.m.: 4-H Beef Show Champions and Showmanship, 4-H Show Arena
6:30 p.m.: Pacers Fan Van
7 p.m.: Youth Pedal Pull, 4-H Bowl
7 to 9 p.m.: Bobby Wiggins, Pioneer building
7 p.m.: Night of Thrills (Enduro, Figure 8, Farm truck race) Multipurpose Arena $10, Pit Pass $20
8 a.m.: 4-H Dairy Goat Show, 4-H Show Arena
9 a.m.: 4-H Cat Show, 4-H West Arena
10 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Exhibit Hall Open
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Pork Chops & Pork Burders served, Pioneer Building
1 p.m.: Carnival opens
1 p.m.: 4-H Bower Goat Show, 40H Show Arena Mini Goat & Mini Sheep immediately following
3 to 7 p.m.: Indiana Blood Mobile
5 p.m.: Commercial building open
6:30 p.m.: Indy Eleven
7 p.m.: Companion Pet Showmanship, 4-H West Arena
7 to 9 p.m.: Karaoke with Tim Plank, Pioneer Building
7 p.m.: Demolition Derby, Multipurpose Arena $10, Pit Pass $20