The Herald Bulletin

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July 18, 2010

Parade signals beginning of 4-H fair

Participants enjoy the festivities

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — The Madison County Fair officially kicked off Sunday with the 4-H parade through downtown Alexandria. Rollerskaters, politicians, miniature horses, tractors and of course 4-H’ers walked the parade path ending at the fairgrounds.

Abby Maxey, 15, said she looks forward to 4-H season all year round. There’s the fair and parade, competitions, and best of all, it is when Abby gets to meet up with all the other 4-H’ers.

“Everybody is real nice and welcoming, and I feel at home with everybody,” the Lapel girl said.

Her favorite part of the parade was helping decorate the float for the Madison County Ruff Riders horse and pony club. Abby’s brother Michael Maxey, 11, said he enjoys getting to compete but really enjoys the parade “because it is a lot of fun to ride on the float.”

The Ruff Riders leader, Rhonda Perkins, said 4-H is a great program for youth to get involved in as it not only teaches the kids about riding horses it also teaches them several life skills like respect, cooperation and teamwork. It also is a great way to keep the youth active and out of trouble, she said.

“The kids have a great time getting together, and they have made some great friendships with the other clubs,” she said. “They may be competing in the ring but they are still friends.”

Camden Leisure, the Daleville Autumn Festival Prince, was excited about throwing candy out during the parade. Autumn Festival committee chairwoman Mary Jo Hall said they are happy to get children involved in the festival. She said she hopes to get word out about their festival Oct. 8 to 10 via their prince who turns a lot of heads with his hot pink mohawk. Leisure won the honor by raising the most funds for the Daleville Elementary School library, Hall said.

While the parade didn’t feature much of the livestock that are the stars of 4-H fair, the Madison County K-9 club had several four-legged parade walkers. The club does agility, obedience and also raises guide dogs for the blind, leader Shirley Spall said. Many of the club members had their dogs with them and showed off some of their skills during the parade.

“This is a great program because it teaches the kids responsible dog ownership,” she said. “I love it all.”

Olivia Houston, 18, has been involved in 4-H for 10 years. The grand champion in showmanship and leader dog said she really loves the program. The parade, the county fair and the state fair are her favorite times of the year.

Olivia and Christina Platt, 12, both said one of the best things about 4-H and all the events are the people and the friendships made.

Cheyanne Jones, 9, of Alexandria was standing eagerly on Harrison Street as the parade went by. She was catching candy and dropping it into a large basket excitedly.

“I come every year,” she said. “I love it! I get to see some of my friends, the police officers and you get candy too. My favorite part though is seeing the motorcycles and stuff go by.”

It isn’t just the kids though who enjoy the parade. Richard Gasper said it is a great thing for Madison County.

“It brings a lot of people out that you wouldn’t normally get to see,” he said. “It is a nice way to see people.”

Contact Abbey Doyle, 640-4805, abbey.doyle@heraldbulletin.com.

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