By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
Clinton’s Mardi Gras Halloween Parade is set to hit the streets for the 64th time. The parade will start at 6 p.m. Oct. 29, beginning at the Clinton County Courthouse and continuing south on Second Street to Fifth Avenue South, where it will turn west one block and then north again on Third Street, ending at Clinton Park at the corner of Fourth Avenue South and Third Street.
“It’s all about the children,” organizer Jean Buikema said. “This is a parade for the children, with many children in it as well.”
Around 100 floats are expected to parade down the route. Marching bands of the area participating in the parade will be Clinton High School, Washington/Lyons Middle School, Camanche High School and Camanche Middle School. Each year, the Mardi Gras Committee selects a grand marshal for the parade. This person gives of their time and talents to the community. The committee is happy to announce that Tammy Meyer, director of RSVP Clinton County, will lead the parade. Meyer has been active with RSVP for 37 years. The mission of RSVP is for people 55 and older to have an opportunity to connect to their communities and participate in volunteer activities where they can share their skills and education to meet critical community needs. RSVP has a volunteer workforce of 225 volunteers working with 25 agencies and organizations, providing nearly 36,000 hours of volunteer service each year. She also is involved with Hearts and Hands and the Coalition for the Homeless.
There will be a coloring contest for grades kindergarten through second and third through fifth. Copies have been distributed through the schools and should be returned to the Clinton Public Library. The winners in each category will receive a gift basket and also ride in the parade.
The Mardi Gras Association awards cash prizes for floats and individual entries. The judges will be located at the Mediacom corner. The entries are judged on a scale of 1-10 for creativity, keeping with the theme and artistic design. Prizes for floats include $300 for first place, $200 for second place, $100 for third place and $75 for fourth place. There are also awards for walking units. For small units (one to five people) there are prizes of $50 for first place and $25 for second place and for large groups (six or more people) there are prizes of $75 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.
This event is made possible by many dedicated volunteers and features a wide variety of floats and entertainment.
“The parade only runs well because of all the great volunteers,” Buikema said. “We take a lot of pride in our floats and parade.”
For more information contact Buikema at 242-7895 or Mary Jo Dopson at 242-1025. Parade applications are now available at Clinton Printing, the Clinton Public Library and Gateway Travel and Cruise. Deadline for applications is Oct. 26. The rain, snow, or sleet day is Oct. 30. Mediacom will televise the parade on Mediacom Channel 19.