Parade Packs Downtown

ST. MARYS — Ghouls, goblins, princesses and even Pac-Man took over downtown St. Marys as part of an annual tradition.

The St. Marys Rotary Club Halloween Parade brought a variety of costumed children downtown. In addition to the annual parade, a costume contest allowed children to compete in categories ranging from prettiest and ugliest to most original and couples.

In year’s past, cold and blustery conditions greeted parade participants. However, this year, early morning showers gave way to a clear, warm night.

“We really lucked out this year,” said Joe Burke, chair of this year’s event. “This morning it was kind of iffy, but it cleared up this afternoon. I guess it’s the warmest it’s been. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd.”

The parade is part of a long-standing tradition for the St. Marys Rotary Club. Burke noted the club itself is getting ready to celebrate its 75th anniversary next year.

“It’s been like this since the early 50s,” Burke said. “Parents have been in it and now their kids are in it — it’s a tradition.”

Kiley Tennant, a fourth-grade student, came to the parade as a gumball machine. Kiley’s mother Becky Tennant made the costume for her daughter.

“I got the idea from a website,” Tennant told The Evening Leader. “We just moved here and it’s our first year.”

Tennant said her family used to live in Greenville, which had a parade as well.

“All the downtown businesses hand out candy,” Tennant said. “They also have a Halloween contest, too.”

Tennant previously made a head in a jar, hot chocolate, a hot air balloon and a Rubix cube costumes in the past.

Grace Kistler, Jill Schmitmeyer, Laura Donovan and Kelcie Fox — along with a pair of dogs — came as bubble bees and a flower.

“We found this costume for him,” Grace said of her dog.

Kelcie said she enjoyed spending time with her friends.

“You don’t get bored and you get to talk to all your friends,” Kelcie said. “It’s cool to have the dog here.”

Jill liked the tasty treats and costumes.

“I like that you get to see all the cool costumes,” Jill said. “And you get candy at the end.”

Rotarian Kraig Noble manned the ugliest category during the contest. He revealed some tips on what makes a good ugly costume.

“Something that you really can’t stand to look at,” Noble said. “We are a little shy right now, but we are hoping to get some more in here.”

Noble said his favorite part of the parade is seeing the children have a good time.

“The parents love watching the kids parade around,” Noble said. We’ve been doing it for more than 50 years.”

A group of cousins came dressed as different colored dice. Hillary Greber, of Celina, said the cousins dress up as a group every year to take part in parades in St. Marys and Celina.

“I just thought it would be different,” Greber said. “It took about a day to make each one of the dice.”

In previous years, the clan has dressed up as characters from “The Wizard of Oz,” M&Ms, crayons and eggs and a chicken.

“I think it’s just fun to get together,” Greber said. “The kids like to see how they do each year.”