CPA kid’s parade conitnues as picnic tradition
Russ Bishop sat on the seat of an idling tractor Friday evening in the City Hall parking lot playing chauffeur to three mermaids. Bubbles filled the air.
Little cowboys and cowgirls prepared their miniature covered wagon. Beaming parents shuffled with their camera's clicking off pictures to capture the children's parade, the latest moments in a Eudora CPA tradition.
"It's just a great family thing," said Tiffany Bishop, mother of Alexis Bishop, 2, one of the mermaids.
The Bishops, along with their Fox family relatives have been taking part in the kids' parade for full three generations. They gathered the day before for a family dinner and spent the evening preparing the costumes and float, Bishop said.
"It's just something my daughter can look back on and say, 'I participated,'" Bishop said.
The Foxes and Bishops are just one of many families who take part in the parade each year, either to better the previous year's costumes or just to watch kids have fun from the side of the road.
For the last three years, Dirk Lehmann has organized the event.
"It's easier every year," Lehmann said. "Each year has its own challenges."
This year, the parade-goers dealt with intense heat. Last year, it was the rain, Lehmann said.
Uncomfortable conditions aside, the parade usually draws in around 40 entries, Lehmann said.
Tiffany Thomas and her children Bethany, 7, and Creighton, 4, are very familiar with the parade.
"We've come down to see it before," Tiffany Thomas said. "Now they're old enough to get their own ideas and do what they want to do."
Bethany decorated her bike this year, and Creighton brought his wagon to pull his favorite stuffed animal.
"It's just something fun and exciting for the kids," Thomas said.
One recurring theme this year seemed to bring kids back to the time of the old West. Among them were Mindy McClaskey, 7, and Mikey McClaskey, 5, who dressed little pioneers.
The McClaskeys have walked in the parade in the past.
Mindy's favorite part of the experience was "probably the floats," she said.
One of the most intricate floats this year was a representation of a 1950s pharmacy, complete with music from the era and a cutout of Elvis Presley.
Three-year-old Mara Oleson and Samantha Gregory, 4, dressed up in poodle skirts to complete the package.
"I like doing this," said Mara's grandmother Donna Oleson. "I used to do it for my kids, and now I do it for my grandchildren."
The parade slowly wound its way from the City Hall parking lot to CPA Park. Mermaids, pioneers and a petite Cinderella passed down Main Street, along with a colorful myriad of other costumed kids.
Angela Fox, mother of the other two mermaids, Ashley, 4, and Cambry, 2, remembered when her parents took part in the parade decades ago, when kids were drawn by ponies.
"We've definitely come up from the pony," Fox said.