People lined the streets
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- It wasn't hard to figure out when the Apple Festival parade got underway on Saturday afternoon.
That was when a group of five police officers on motorcycles dressed in their shined up parade uniforms raced up and down crowd-lined Main Street with their sirens on full blast.
To watch the following parade spectacle, people were benched and standing along Main Street from Second Street and as far as the eye could see looking south along Main Street.
With a not too warm wind blowing, many people had put on that extra layer of clothing to keep warm.
Some were even draped in blankets to keep the cold out.
Especially the many small children, to whom this year's parade may have been a first time experience, seemed well dressed for the chilly weather.
As usual, parade participants threw out candy to the delight of youngsters, who rushed out into the street to gather sweets as the parade moved forward.
Todd Curran, Apple Festival parade chairperson, said this year's festival parade, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, was a success.
Curran, who stayed at the parade launching area during the parade, said people told him the route which the parade followed was packed with people throughout the entire parade.
There were 117 different entries in the parade this year, said Curran, who has been Apple Festival parade chair for the last four years.
The entries ranged from fire and police departments, area schools, festival sponsors, cub Scouts, community organizations, businesses and many others.
Several area high school bands, as well as Ring Lardner Middle School's band, entertained the crowd with cheerful marching music.
Although most of the people are parade veterans, Curran said there were some new entries this year.
He said fire trucks and a crew from Union Volunteer Fire Fighters of Wheeler, Ind., appeared in the parade for the first time this year.
With the weather holding up on Saturday, Curran was glad the parade wasn't held on Sunday, which was on-and-off cold and rainy.