Hundreds march in Apple Youth Parade
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- There wasn't much space left on 17th Street during Saturday's Apple Festival Youth Parade .
Hundreds of parents and their children took part in the parade, which terminated at the Apple Festival grounds where Apple Festival Youth Day organizers had everything ready for a fun-filled day that included free food, games and activities.
Brian Latislaw of Niles walked in the parade with his 4-year-old son, Toby, who rode an electric motorbike.
Latislaw said the parade is a great event and a chance for children to get out and meet other youngsters.
Angela Johnson, also of Niles, didn't take part in the parade herself, but stood on 17th Street with her daughter on her arm and watched the many colorful floats and dressed-up children walk by.
However, she wasn't the only parade spectator.
Many people sat along 17th Street in their lawn chairs, or had parked their cars at a location where they could watch the parade from as it moved toward its final destination.
Chuck Craig is President of this year's Apple Festival, but he was also this year's Youth Day chairman.
He said Youth Day, which this year offered gunny sack races, bozo games, a rope bridge and a Ronald McDonald show and other activities, is a fun day for the children.
And, Youth Day seems to be a hit with most people.
He estimated 1,000 people ended up at the festival grounds after the parade was done.
In addition to games and activities, 1,000 hot dogs and free drinks were given out during Youth Day, which makes the event affordable for most people.
John Closson, who has been on the Apple Festival's board of directors for 20 years, said around 30 volunteers were involved with Youth Day this year.
He was glad to see so many people stream into the festival grounds on Saturday, a little less than a week before the actual Apple Festival gets underway this Thursday at 4 p.m.
Carmen Burke, financial secretary for the board of directors, was among the many Youth Day volunteers
She seemed to have her hands full while serving drinks to thirsty Youth Day visitors on sunny Saturday.
Two awards were given out during Youth Day.
Northside Child Development Center were awarded for being the largest group walking in the parade.
More than 200 people walked behind their banner.
Ashley Leak won a prize for best impersonation. She was dressed up like Elvis and walked in the parade with her dog.