Talk about a perfect day. Saturday started out with rain, and cleared off in the morning to a beautiful sky and a cool breeze. It was perfect weather for the Falls City Cobblestone parade.
Chamber board members rode up-and-down Harlan Street at parade time, and counted the people in the crowd. According to chamber director David Branch, the count was more than 3500.
Parade director Lori Gottula said, “I was blown away when I heard that number. I don’t ever see the crowd, but just knowing that, that many people came to watch the parade makes it all worth it.”
Gottula was excited that so many people got to see Grand Marshals Francis and Bev Seid lead the parade, including several relatives who traveled to Falls City just for that purpose. Francis and Bev were chosen two weeks ago from a list of very deserving nominees.
“This wonderful couple gave a lot to this community over three decades,” Gottula said. “From providing jobs at the John Deere dealership to organizing the Farmer-Customer Appreciation Banquet and volunteering their time to numerous organizations, they contributed countless hours to the success of Falls City.”
Switching gears, Gottula said, “And let’s talk about the floats, bands, Shriners, and other entries. Everything was just amazing. The float judges said that picking a winner in the decorated float contest was very tough this year.”
When all was said and done, though, the Community Medical Center reigned victorious with the “best in show” award. The theme was “Dancing Through the Decades,” and CMC’s float was a time machine with the caption “CMC: Keeping you dancing through the decades.”
The first place winner in the business/commercial category was Falls City Nursing and Rehab. Second place was F & M Bank, and third was Dunn Greenery. In the Organizations/Churches category, the Humane Society took top honors, followed by Falls City Sacred Heart, then the BPO Does.
The judges for the contest were: Rita Seid, Christina Wertenberger, and Tayten O’Brien.
In the first-ever marching band contest, awards were given in classes A through D, then one trophy was given to the winning middle school band. Since there were four high school bands and one middle school, each band won an award this year. However, Gottula hopes that the band directors will spread the word about the large crowd, the trophies, and the critique notes from judges Tom Osborne, a retired band director from Auburn, and Kevin Reiger, assistant band director at Atchison High School.
“We hope that the professionalism of this contest will attract more bands in the future,” Gottula said. The bands that participated were: Falls City Sacred Heart, Falls City Middle School, Hiawatha High School, HTRS, and Falls City High School. This year’s band contest was sponsored by F & M Bank, Stripes and Signs, Randy and Lori Gottula, FAST (formerly WASP), SunMart, and Brian Miller.
“David Branch also contributed a lot of time,” Gottula stated. “He was in charge of getting the trophies, which were beautiful.”
Gottula said she would like to thank all of the people who made the Cobblestone parade possible, from the people in charge of various categories that day to the state patrol officers who closed the streets at ‘go’ time, to Hullman Ford, which provides the grand marshals’ convertible.
“This parade truly takes a village,” Lori said. “And without all of the volunteers, it would be impossible.”
Those who served this year were Randy Gottula, Judy Handley, Allie Bierman, Lauren Bierman, Lynne Davis, Rita Seid, Marty and Gail Froeschl, Mary Knaup, Ron Jordening, June Bowers, and Tracy O’Brien.
Four of the parade volunteers are retiring after this year. All four have served the majority of the time that Gottula has been running the parade, which is now 19 years. The retirees are: Marty and Gail Froeschl, Lynne Davis, and Ron Jordening.
“I can’t thank them enough for helping year after year,” Gottula said. “They will be hard to replace. But next year, I’ll be looking for new people—people who want to be part of the ‘village,’ and continue the success of the Cobblestone parade.”
- JOHN ROSENBERGER
- A tale of two halves