True/False March Marchers dance through snow

Friday, March 1, 2013 | 8:35 p.m. CST; updated 10:01 p.m. CST, Saturday, March 2, 2013
Participants, many of them dressed up in costumes, marched in the annual True/False Film Fest March March parade Friday in downtown Columbia.

COLUMBIA — Not even the recent snowstorms could dampen the enthusiasm of the 2013 True/False Film Fest's March March.

More than 100 people dressed in costumes ranging from simple masks to full-body ensembles as they marcheddown Ninth Street from Boone County Courthouse Square outside Shakespeare's Pizza Friday afternoon.

A cast of queen bees dressed in homemade black and red costumes complete with batons and beehive hats didn't worry that the parade would be canceled. One of the queen bees, Elizabeth Bergman, has been a part of the festival since its beginning in 2004 and remembers the parade going on even after hearing a tornado warning.

"We did it in the rain two years ago," Bergman said. "The lights went off in Ragtag (Cinema), the (tornado warning) siren sounded and then we came outside and had the parade."

Bergman and her fellow queen bees, including Ann Breidenbach and Jacquelyn Sandone, declined to refer to themselves as volunteers and instead used the word "enthusiasts."

The queen bees spirits were high despite falling snow.

"It's the whole atmosphere, it's magic," Breidenbach said. "It's just an amazing weekend."

Other marchers donned gorilla and Mario suits, and two men dressed in full robot costumes. One of the robots, Gary Merriman, has dressed for previous marches as a cow and a giant Elmo.

Alongside fellow robot and brother-in-law Josh Oxenhandler, Merriman said this year was special.

"It's the 10-year anniversary and it gets bigger every year. And even despite the snow, I still see a lot of people,"Merriman said.

Joshua Hulenacted as parade co-coordinator for the third consecutive year. His business card reads "Purveyor of Crazy Fun!" He directed the rest of the participants through the parade and he also helped lead the "block party," the new tradition of an all-out dance party at the end.

When the parade stopped outside Shakespeare's, instruments including drums, trumpets and saxophones began blasting music as cheerleaders and the other costumed participants danced in the streets.

The addition of the block party was meant to provide a grand finale to the revelry of the parade. Hulen said this is just one more way the parade signals the beginning of the festival's celebration.

"It's everybody coming together and having a good time," Hulen said. "It's an official kick-off to a big party."

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.

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