With fingers crossed, Brandy Day asked around for parade floats and vehicles to adorn Oglesby’s inaugural Winter Parade, which begins shortly before dusk Saturday. Day would have been thrilled to get 20 units.
To her great surprise, there will be nearly 50 floats and vehicles. Though the cutoff date for registration passed weeks ago, interested parties have sought out Day and other members of We Are Oglesby Association asking if they can ride or walk.
“It’s growing by the day,” said Day, association president. “It’s completely from scratch, all volunteer. We had no previous records from the city to draw upon so we made this up as we went along.”
The Winter Parade was kicked around earlier this year but has taken a life of its own thanks to strong interest from Oglesby’s business community and City Hall. Mayor Dom Rivara, for one, immediately gave his seal of approval.
“They wanted to add on to what the city was doing and all the kid-friendly activities we have,” Rivara said. “It seemed like a great idea and they ran with it.”
Walnut Street will be closed beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, though the parade kicks off at 4 p.m. from the parking lot of the Oglesby Elks Lodge, 800 E. Walnut St. Among the participants are the La Salle-Peru High School marching band, a dancing troupe sponsored by Mr. Salsa’s as well as a three-piece band.
Walkers will join in the parade at the Oglesby Knights of Columbus, 307 E. Florence St., at the edge of downtown and accompany the floats and vehicles across the final six city blocks. Spectators can line up on either side of Walnut Street and enjoy free hot cocoa and holiday treats as well as pictures with Santa. Numerous downtown businesses will be open.