Apple Festival Grande Parade is back, looking for participants

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, September 22, 2021

NILES — The annual Four Flags Apple Festival Grande Parade is back and looking for participants.

The popular Apple Festival event returns at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 after being postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The parade route is roughly two miles long, beginning downtown before going up Main Street, across Broadway Street and down 15th Street before ending at Niles High School.

Parade organizer Katie Lowe has been involved with the festival for 15 years. According to Lowe, parade participation has dipped from 100-120 participating organizations to the 62 currently registered to participate.

“I think it’s because of the pandemic,” Lowe said. “Businesses that have participated in the past don’t have the employees necessary to do it. There’s a lack of manpower. It’s sad, but it is what it is.”

Parade participation is free and anyone can join. More than a dozen awards will be given out to parade participants for different categories. Animals are allowed in the parade, but animal handlers must pick up after the animals. Applications can be found at fourflagsapplefestival.org and will be taken up to the day of the parade.

Ride wristbands can be purchased online for $25 until 12 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, after which prices will increase to $30.

Lowe believes the festival is a great way for businesses new and old to be visible and advertise themselves to the community.

“You can register a float, truck, trailer, go-cart, you name it,” she said. “You can hand out advertising, pamphlets and more. It’s great, free publicity for any business.”

For Lowe, seeing the city gather for the parade is what she looks forward to the most.

“I enjoy seeing the community come together as one,” she said. “When we go up second street and go up the hill, it’s flooded with people. It truly is a sight to see.”