Downtown crowd enterrained by Community Parade

Canton Repository |

CANTON Evan Allison Simpson, a self-described parade hater, found himself downtown Sunday afternoon among the crowd viewing the annual procession known as the Community Parade.

"I don't like parades," said Simpson, while standing along Market Avenue N as the parade units passed by. "I am just standing here watching people walk. It's nice, though."

The parade included about 100 units, many of which include children. The Community Parade is one of the many events that make up the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.

"This is really the kick-off of the two weeks of events," said Joanne Murray, vice president of community events and sponsorship for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. "It is a parade where we can accommodate regional people and organizations that are excited to participate in a festival event. It would be rare that we would turn down a unit for the Community Parade."

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce coordinates most of the festival events. The Community Parade proceeds along Market Avenue for about three quarters of a mile between 11th Street N to the north and Third Street S to the south.

One of the up-front units was the McKinley High School marching band and drill team, and its booming sound seemed to wake up the crowd.

"I like seeing all the little kids in the parade," spectator Jessica Haavisto said. "That means they are staying busy and being active. I have a son in there."

Haavisto's 8-year-old son marched with Perry Youth Football and Cheer.

Hot and wet

The weather, up to a point, cooperated with parade organizers and spectators. Precipitation did not start until the end of the parade. But the temperatures were scorching, reaching into the low 90s. There were at least a couple of casualties, with two women, a parade participant and a spectator, receiving cooling treatment from the American Red Cross.

"We treat whoever," said Chuck Goldy, coordinator of the American Red Cross first-aid station. "Canton Fire (Department) brought her (the spectator) down here to lay down. If she had been more serious, she would have been transported. We gave her cold water to hydrate herself. When it is hot like this, you really need to drink extra fluid."

Over the past few decades, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival has grown to the point that the Community Parade was added to allow more participants. The Canton Repository Grand Parade will be .

"It says a lot of people want to participate," Murray said, explaining the rationale for having two parades. "Who doesn't love a parade?"

It seems Eric Lancaster, of the Tyler Scott Lancaster Foundation, agrees.

"We love the parade," Lancaster said while his unit concluded its march. "Just next year we (hope) to get in the big one."

The organization is dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes. It is named after Lancaster's late son, Tyler Scott Lancaster, a GlenOak High School graduate and college football player who died from complications of diabetes in 2017.

The parade even brought in a key participant from another regional festival, the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival. Dynasty Ford, the reigning 2018 Carnation Queen, rode in the procession.

"I love the support between the communities," Ford said.

Reach Malcolm at 330-580-8305

or malcolm.hall@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: mahllREP

___

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