Pioneer Days ‘Big Parade’

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  • Bo Herak, one of the bull fighters at the Pioneer Days Rodeo Events, cheers on Harley as she rides a lamb last weekend in Ronan. (Marla Hall/Lake County Leader)

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  • Bo Herak, one of the bull fighters at the Pioneer Days Rodeo Events, cheers on Harley as she rides a lamb last weekend in Ronan. (Marla Hall/Lake County Leader)

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Newcomers and visitors to Ronan may not know why the Pioneer Days parade that makes its way from St. Luke’s Hospital down main street is referred to as the ‘Big Parade’ and why, unlike the parades in many other towns, it is held on Sunday instead of Saturday.

The tradition and the name go back decades to a time when there was also a kid’s parade which was held on Saturday leaving the main parade for Sunday. In a sense there was a ‘little’ parade on Saturday and then the ‘big’ parade on Sunday. There is no longer a separate kids parade, but the name ‘Big‘ stuck and the big parade is certainly one of the highlights of Pioneer Days.

This year’s parade had a large number of antique cars — most of which were part of the car show on Saturday and also a large contingent of horses and riders. A crowd favorite in the parade was an old ambulance painted orange and black (Ronan’s school colors) and with emergency oddities hanging out of windows and being pulled along behind.

The ambulance was the brainchild of the Scott twins, Kay and Sam, and was a bold statement that members of the class of ’69 are not old yet! Indeed, the flatbed that followed the ambulance had several class of ’69 members who were in Ronan celebrating their 50th class reunion — and they definitely did not look or act “old.” If they are evidence — 70 (actually 68) really may be the new ’40!

In addition to the candy thrown to kids lining the parade route, the other kid favorite — as always — was the brigade of fire trucks bringing up the rear. The blast of water shot from one of the trucks soaked all who wanted to get in its path.

Although many kids of all ages hurried to the middle of the street to cool off from the hot mid-day sun, it looked as though many were shocked and surprised by how cold the water was as they ducked and ran after getting hit by the torrent of water falling from above them.

They might not remember any of the entries that preceded the truck, but many are likely telling stories about getting drenched at the 2019 version of the Pioneer Days parade.

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