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Thousands expected to watch big parade
July 09, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photos by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Wagons and animals are just part of the fun as Saturday morning’s big parade makes its way through downtown Gering.

Tenth Street through downtown Gering will be packed with spectators this Saturday morning as the big Oregon Trail Days parade celebrates “It’s an Oregon Trail Journey.”

“That’s our parade theme for this year,” said Mike Minzey, one of the parade coordinators. “I suppose people heading west in the 1800s would say they’re on an Oregon Trail Journey.”

About 60 groups usually enter floats for the parade, which starts through downtown Gering at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 11.

In addition to local businesses, floats often include area high school cheerleaders, class reunions in town for Oregon Trail Days, local public officials, and of course, politicians.

Parade floats should start arriving at the Gering High School parking lot at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Floats are lined up for the parade at 9 a.m., so the float arrival deadline is 8:15 a.m. so they can be judged for prizes. Float categories include Art, Youth, Religious, Historical, Commercial and General.

The animals category assembles at 8 a.m. on Depot Street, next to Johnson Cashway Lumber. Judging in that category is also at 8:15 a.m. and categories include horse and rider, groups of riders from two to four, groups of riders five and more, and animal-drawn carriages and wagons.

“We’ve had a number of people enter already as well as a number of class reunions,” Minzey said. “This edition should be another great parade.”

As always, leading the parade is a color guard. The Nebraska Army National Guard also brings one of their trucks for the parade. The Gering High School Band will also be there, and any number of fire and police emergency vehicles.

“We have the emergency vehicles up front,” Minzey said. “If there’s an emergency call that needs fast response, they can get away.”
He added people don’t have to pre-register for the parade. They can fill out a form that morning when they arrive. Registration forms are also available at oregontraildays.com.

“Entrants should remember that throwing candy from floats and water cannons aren’t allowed for the parade,” Minzey said. “People walking along with the floats can hand out candy.”

The Los Guadalupanos Folkloric Dancers sport the bright colors of Mexico on their float in last year’s big parade. Directed by Marianne Shockley, the Guadalupanos dancers preserve the traditions of Mexican heritage through unique cultural dances.
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