COLUMBIA — As 9:30 a.m. rolls around on Saturday, a float for the candidates for Boone County Fair Teen Queen and Princess is lined with empty chairs. The girls wait under the shade of nearby trees.
Children lounge on multiple 4-H floats with the theme of “Dream Big,” and horses are parked in a nearby lot.
Intermingled with the floats are politicians’ cars carrying large signs displaying their names and what they’re running for. They are surrounded by their crews — family and friends all adorned with T-shirts that show their support. Even a dog sports a T-shirt backing a candidate.
As 10 a.m. approaches, people young and old line Broadway. Three toots on a whistle and a sheriff’s car slowly leads the Boone County Fair parade.
Shirley Sapp is there with her two grandchildren, Brooke and Jack. Sapp says she has always liked coming to the parade and in the early ‘60s, she was secretary of the Boone County Fair. Brooke, 6, is most excited about the candy that’s given away but also likes the bands and firetrucks. Her brother Jack, 10, likes the parade because of everything he sees.
Fistfuls of candy are thrown, and children rush the street with plastic bags in hand. Firefighters hand out stickers; politicians hand out goodies, too: bags for the children, newspapers, even nail files — just about anything they can put their names on.
Chuck Miller sits on the curb with son Ethan, 2, as they watch big sister Abby, 5, go by on the Shaw 4-H float. They attend the parade every year.
“We’re heavily involved in the Boone County Fair,” Miller said. “and this is an excellent way to support the kids and families in the fair itself.”
As 10:30 a.m. arrives, the noise and vehicles drift down Broadway as the parade trails off. A street cleaner follows behind, picking up candy that will never be eaten and any debris from the floats.
Faye and Richard Skelton begin to leave with their grandchildren. They enjoyed the parade but almost missed it.
“We were just downtown and saw that there was a parade,” Faye Skelton says. “Our grandchildren wanted to come.”
Their grandson James Colley, 7, says the cow float was his favorite because it made a “moo” sound.