STEWARDSON — Many spectators found shade along the parade route as the Stewardson Independence Day Celebration kicked off on what was a hot afternoon of family activities on Sunday.
During the Red, White and Blue parade, some children scrambled for candy and frozen pops, while adults appreciated the ice cold bottled water handed out by those walking the parade route.
Vehicles included fire trucks from the area: Stewardson, Strasburg and Windsor fire departments, as well as Stewardson’s ambulance. The First National Bank of Waterloo was represented, with a 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood in the parade.
A part of the parade was Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg dance and cheer team. The 2018 Little Miss and Mister Stewardson, Ava Schultz and Jackson Tabbert took a ride down the parade route. Mr. and Mrs. Claus played by Jim and Linda Morgan of Windsor and Santa in a Bathtub, played by Larry Black, also of Windsor, also were there.
Carrying the American flag, Craig Greuel with Boy Scout Troop 142 led the pack along with other members of his troop and Cub Scout Troop 242. American Legion members Joe Vonderheide and Phil Boyer were among those carrying flags.
Royalty was a part of the parade, as well. The 2019 Shelby County Queen Adilyn McCray of Gays and Jr. Miss Kylie Smith of Shelbyville had a spot in the parade line up. Also making an appearance was Sandra (Thomas) Friese, who was the first Strasburg Homecoming Queen in 1958.
Following the conclusion of the nearly 30 minute long parade, many gathered at the Stewardson park, where bounce houses awaited children who didn’t seem to mind the heat that was in the lower 90s at 5 p.m.
Friends from 5-Point Parish of the United Methodist Church, served parade spectators with bottled water, along the parade route, and several gathered at the park after the parade ended.
“It was tough keeping up,” said Steve Harder, associate pastor, “because everybody was taking the water today,” referring to the hot temperatures Sunday brought.
The church had 200 bottles to hand out, but did finish the parade with a handful of bottles remaining.
But others were at the park for two things – cold freshly made shake ups from Big Al’s Shake Up stand; and food from the Lions Club food stand.
“The food,” was the reason for coming out in the heat, chimed simultaneously, Samantha Gaugh, 15 and Sierra Cameron, 16, both of Strasburg when asked what they were most looking forward to that afternoon.
Laura Duncan of Strasburg brought her three children and a niece to the park. She tried to stay cool with a shake up and some shade, while watching her crew of children play.
“We always have to come out and get something from Big Al’s Shakeups,” said Duncan. “Strawberry is their favorite.”
Duncan said she grew up in Stewardson and the pre-Independence Day celebration was always a summer highlight for her growing up.
Inclement weather later moved in and dampened some of the activities planned for Sunday evening. The watermelon eating contest was postponed and will be held at The Brew Bank in Stewardson at 7 p.m. July 3.
Children ages 6 to 13 may enter for $1 per person. There are 16 slots available. Anyone 14 and older may enter the adult contest for $5 per person. There are 18 slots for that contest. Contestants cannot use their hands while eating the watermelon in this event.
Dawn Schabbing can be reached at email@example.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138