By Katherine Gibbs
Tradition. That is what the Belton parade means for a lot of people. Most of the spectators have been coming since they were kids and now they bring their own families to carry on that tradition. Magdaly Newsome, a local business owner said, “She has been attending the parade since she was seven and was old enough to be out in the heat.” Her family has been going to the parade every year and they designate a member of their family to stake out a spot in front of their store and set up a canopy.
When the clock struck ten the MC came to the podium and told some jokes to the crowd to keep them halfway entertained until the parade came closer. The crowd was waiting for the first sign that the parade was close, when we heard the distinctive siren of a cop car. The parade always started with a cop car so it let people know that the parade was coming.
As soon as the cop car passed by the parade really got started with different cars with important people like the Mayor of Belton and city council members. As the parade continued more cars, horses and floats went by. Every year the floats are given awards for different categories such as most original, best of show and most patriotic. Newsome liked the parade floats this year saying, “I was excited to see a lot more people putting effort into the floats this year.”
The floats that won awards this year were: best of show/chairman’s choice – CGI, most original/best representation of theme- CHIPS – citizens helping in police service, most patriotic- Ed Thomas, best church youth group- American heritage girls troop 1274, best sports team- FC Belton, best equestrian unit- 3C cowboy fellowship and best walking or marching group- Belton marching 100.
Occasionally people would clap for our military and veterans as they passed by and then would continue watching the parade in a sort of trance. The people on each float seemed to either wave with flags or wave with their hands as they went by.
The sun eventually came out which caused people to break out their coolers with bottles of water and children came back with snow cones in their hands. People were trying to stay cool under umbrellas and canopies or by using a hand held fan. It was around this time that people were starting to wonder when it was ending and if it was soon. Some people started to leave in the hopes of getting ahead of the traffic.
By the end of the parade, the children were sweaty, tired and looked to be bored. Once the last cop car passed everyone started packing up and leaving while personnel started to clean the street from where people left fans and trash. It only took a few minutes for the crowd to clear off the street and pack their cars to leave. The only trace that showed how busy the downtown area had been was the backup of traffic trying to leave.