Fair organizers revive parade tradition

By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

TROY — Miami County Fair organizers are resurrecting an old tradition, ending this year’s festivities with a full-blown parade on the last day of the fair.

“It used to be, many years ago there was a parade every year on the last day of the fair,” Miami County Agricultural Society (MCAS) secretary Julie Millhouse said. “That was when the 4-H clubs and different organizations, the equipment vendors would take their things through the parade as kind of just a showcase of what they had done for the week.”

“I couldn’t tell you how many years go that’s been, but they haven’t had a parade in a really long time,” she said. “So they decided to try and bring that back, as kind of a showcase for the kids on the last night of the fair.”

Featuring first responders, fair royalty, elected officials, 4-H clubs and other civic organizations, marching bands and anyone else who wants to participate, the parade will start at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 in the stadium at the Miami County Fairgrounds.

“Anybody who wants to participate in the parade is welcome,” MCAS President Nick Shellenbarger said.

“We’re hoping that it’s a really positive, exciting way to end the week, because the kids have worked so hard all year long with their projects and it’s kind of a way to showcase them,” Millhouse said.

“We have some bands that are going to go through,” she said. “Our first responders from the area are going to take part in it, and they are going to stay afterwards for people to mingle with them and see the machinery, and the cars and trucks and that sort of thing.”

Prizes and/or trophies will be awarded in two separate categories, for best float and best themed group. The parade’s theme will be “Throwback Thursday,” featuring ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s attire and decorations. Groups or individuals who are interested in the parade should contact the fair office at 335-7492 for an entry form.

This year, the Miami County Fair runs from Aug. 9-15. In addition to the parade, organizers have also planned several other activities and attractions that are new or unique for this year.

“We’re going to have a good time,” Millhouse said. “There are a lot of new things; we have a magic show, we have a roving dinosaur this year, and the monkey people are coming back. There are just a lot of things to see. We have open laser tag for kids; that doesn’t cost anything. There are a lot of different things this year for kids.”

Kids’ Day at the fair will be Monday, Aug. 12; ride bracelets will be on sale for $15, and from 10 am to 1 pm one parent is admitted free with each child under age 9. Armed Forces Day, First Responder Day and Senior Citizens’ Day will be Wednesday, Aug. 14.

This year, if the parade goes well, organizers say they would like to see it return, and possibly become a tradition once again.

“If it goes over like we’re hoping, we’d like to see it return,” Millhouse said.