Golf carts were on parade in Grand Detour

A trip to a swamp in Mississippi was the inspiration for one of the 53 entries in the Fourth Annual Grand Detour Golf Cart Parade on Saturday.

“We were down in Mississippi and we took a swamp tour so we thought we’d show people here in Grand Detour what that looked like,” said Finn Sommers, one of Tom and Steffaney Welty’s grandchildren.

Finn, 10, and his siblings Ryder, 8, and Isla, 5, of Crystal Lake, were given the option of deciding how to decorate the Welty’s golf cart.

“They were on the swamp tour and they saw a pig and some alligators,” said Tom.

“We told the kids they could decide how to decorate it and Ryder said ‘we can make a swamp cart’, " said Steffaney. “The decorating was a group effort. It took us about an hour.”

Decorating details included stuffed swamp creatures, a couple of dinosaurs, Safari wear for Ryder, and a lot of swampy flora.

The Swamp Cart stood out in a sea of patriotic-themed carts and all-terrain vehicles for the 2021 event.

Its main decorated competitor appeared to be Mark and Linda Downey’s “Sweet Land of Liberty” cart that was fitted in a sea of red, white and blue streamers along with a couple of matching inflatable popsicle floats.

That decorating scheme took some time, Linda said. “It took us awhile, but it was fun to do.”

Another entry had two other very curious “kids” along for the ride.

Jacklyn Heller rode in the back of an ATV with her two Nigerian dwarf goats, Deliah and Zion, as her grandmother, Karen Heller, drove.

The 6-month old kids curiously eyed other entries that had dogs, a

parrot, and even a duck.

“This is just a fun event,” said Karen.

Jacklyn’s brother, Levi, was the chauffeur for 92-year-old Beulah Schumacher, a longtime Grand Detour resident who was making her first appearance in the parade.

“I’ve watched it before, but this is the first time I’ve been part of it,” said Schumacher. “There are a lot of people here.”

The line of vehicles were staged in the parking lot of the John Deere Historic Site where Jim Ross, parade organizer, walked by the entries sporting red, white and blue pants, and an Uncle Sam hat before the 8 p.m. starting time. This year’s parade marshals were Roger and Joan Kelly, who owned the Ace Hardware Store in Dixon. Their cart was driven by their son, Rich, with his dad in the passenger seat and mom on the back seat.

Last year’s event was held despite the COVID-19 pandemic with one of the entries being Kate

Johnson and Joe Roth’s “In Sickness and in Health..A Covid Style Wedding”.

Their entry included Johnson in a summer cut wedding gown complete with Nike t

ennis shoes and Roth sporting groom-to-be into tuxedo shorts with a wedding cake with five rolls of toilet paper.

Connie Ross, Jim’s wife, said the Roth and Johnson are slated to be married next month. “She had her bridal shower today,” said Connie.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.