Rain pelts but doesn’t dampen spirits at opening parade of 152nd Cass County Fair
By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS -- It rained on their parade opening the 152nd Cass County Fair Sunday evening.
President Steve Green welcomed everyone. "I hope you have a great time," he said. "It gets bigger and bigger every year."
The M-40 Hustlers entered the first-place float. A red ribbon for second went to TEAM 4-H.
JOY (Jefferson Outstanding Youth, organized in 1998), which claimed second in 2002 and first in 2001, finished third.
Among walking units, first place was awarded to Jones Rough Riders 4-H club. McCanse Chiropractic took second.
A Cassopolis police car escorted a color guard from Cassopolis VFW Post 10704 and American Legion Post 206 to the pole for the raising of the American flag as Emily Kendall of Edwardsburg sang the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Leading the parade were Grand Marshals John and Barb Norton of Cassopolis, driven by Jordan Fedore.
John was first elected a fair board director in 1984. He served as secretary in 1985-87 and twice as president, 1988-90 and 1992-93.
Next came the fair royalty, Queen Emily Westendorp and King John Klapchuk, both 17-year-old Dowagiac Union High School seniors, and their court, Ashley Solloway of Cassopolis and Scott Mellen of Edwardsburg, all in the bed of a Suseland Farm Percherons wagon from Vandalia.
Twins Ashley Smego, Miss Cassopolis, and Adam Smego, Mr. Blossomtime, followed.
Virginia Edgerly, 1990 grand marshal, led the Cass County Sheriff's Office Mounted Division. Two other previous grand marshals, Virginia Springsteen of Dowagiac (1988) and Dorothy Peterson of Niles (1993) shared a car.
State Rep. Rick Shaffer, R-Three Rivers, walked. The 59th District representative will return to the fair Wednesday and Thursday to greet constituents.
Next came 4-H clubs -- TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More), Flaming Youth, Calvin, 5-H Horse Club, JOY, Busy Friends, North Red Hill, M-40 Hustlers and Jones Rough Riders, whose members carried a miniature circus tent for the "Under the Big Top" theme.
Trucks from Green Brothers Tires and Service, Corbidge Automotive, RB Towing of Edwardsburg and Central Auto Pool of South Bend, Ind., a procession of antique tractors, firetrucks from Cassopolis and Edwardsburg and Cassopolis Elvis impersonator Earl Cook's unique car completed the parade, which was announced by Brian Kuemin of the fair board.