Magical Maple Leaf Parade

The Maple Leaf Parade, hosted annually in Carthage, Missouri, celebrated its 52nd year today. Known as the area’s largest parade, the 2018 theme was “Magical”.

What began in 1966 as a marching band competition has developed into a festival, named for the trees in the area that begin colorful transformations in the fall. The parade begins in Carthage’s historical square and ends at the old junior high school.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

Highlights from the Parade

Here are highlights, captured in photos:

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

The Carthage Police Color Guard leads off the parade at 9:00 am, on the west side of the square. That handsome police sergeant in the back is my son.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

The first band today, among many, was the Marching Tigers from Carthage. As one who marched with the band in Maple Leaf as a high school student, I enjoy these on the move performances. Speaking from experience, I know about the hours and hours that the students put in before parade season starts.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

Grandson Oliver gives me a smile as his football team sails by. He’s at the top of the float. After the float rolled by, I saw Oliver drop back into his seat on the far side, out of view. This sweet kid knew where I would be standing in the crowd and popped up just so I could take a photo.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

This adorable dog wears his hat and rides in this car, every year. He is a crowd favorite. I’ll miss his presence some day!

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

Grandson Dayan marched with the Carl Junction Bulldogs all through junior and senior high school. I recognized the band’s big sound before they even came into view. Partly out of habit, and partly so that I could send Dayan a video, I recorded their amazing performance. Listen to the Marching Bulldogs.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

The long string of Volkswagen Beetles generated excitement! I’ve not seen this car group represented in the parade before.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

The Star Wars group shows up every year, however, much to the delight of fans. With a large cast of costumed characters and the Star Wars theme music playing, this group draws cheers.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

And toward the end of the parade was the rest of my family members who participated…daughter-in-law Megan and grandkids Joey and Aubrey. They helped out with Megan’s work float, and had a fun time handing out candy.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

Carthage Courthouse

And the horses signaled the end of the parade. A total of 170 floats, bands and groups participated. The day was cool but with ample sunshine, making it perfect parade weather.

The old Carthage Courthouse, in the center of the square, presided over it all. This gorgeous building was built in 1894-1895. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure, designed by architect Max A. Orlopp Jr., was constructed with local Carthage marble and has medieval castle features that include turrets, towers, and arches. It is the second most photographed building in Missouri and remains in use by Jasper County officials.

I love the picturesque building. I turned to looked up at it several times and snap photos. Fifty two times the Maple Leaf Parade has circled the courthouse. What an amazing celebration of creativity and music. I hope that old building stands for many more years to come, as a silent witness to future parades.

Magical Maple Leaf Parade

I Love a Parade

Family fun continued today, kicking off early this morning with an event that has been held annually for 51 years. The Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage Missouri hosts a variety of activities each year, the highlight being the Maple Leaf Parade.

My son Nate was in the parade this morning, commanding the Color Guard as they led the parade. And three of my grandchildren, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, rode on floats, along with their Tiger football teams and cheerleading squads.

I enjoy parades…the festive atmosphere, the camaraderie of the people gathered along the streets, the smiling participants waving from the colorful floats. And although Christmas parades have a beauty all their own, I am particularly fond of this parade that celebrates autumn. I marched in this parade during my years in high school band. I’ve watched my children and grandchild as they in turn have walked, ridden or marched by. I have a long history with this event.

Here are highlights of the Maple Leaf Parade:

This has become a yearly tradition, capturing a pic of my son with his wife Megan. Nate serves his community as a police sergeant. As a member of the Color Guard, it is their task to lead off the parade with a presentation of the American and state flags.

I watched my son, standing confidently, tall and straight backed, and remembered when he was a boy, standing with rapt attention as we watched various parades begin. He was there to watch the police officers and the police cars with their flashing red and blue lights. He dreamed of being an officer someday. Did he know that when that someday came, that he would be the one leading the parades?

This adorable dog, sitting calmly in the back seat as he sports a hat, seemed to love being in the parade.

Grandson Joey, with the sixth grade Tiger football team, stood up and waved so we could see him!

Grandson Oliver, with the fourth grade team, gave us a smile and a wave.

Granddaughter Aubrey and her sweet friend Karleigh, who is like another grandchild to me, with the Tiger cheerleading squads.

A crowd favorite the last few years, this float features characters from the Star Wars movies. The band marching in front of them played Darth Vader’s theme song.

My grandson Dayan marched with the Carl Junction band the last four years. I missed seeing him today, and felt compelled to snap a pic of the tuba section any way. There were many marching bands performing during the parade. I heard this band enter the square and I knew it was the CJ band without seeing the banner carried. I know this band. I recorded them as they played, so I can share with Dayan, who happened to be in a parade after all today. He rode on a float, representing resident hall government, in Mizzou’s homecoming parade.

A sweet moment between Nate and Megan, after my son completed the parade and returned to the square to find us before starting other duties.

Horses always signal the end of the parade, and today, there was a unicorn in their midst!

What a fun morning. The weather was the warmest we have had, that I recall. Usually I am dressed in layers and bundled up in winter gloves, scarf and hat in an attempt to stay warm. Not so today. Temps were in the 70s and many people took advantage of mild weather and lined the streets.

I combined the parade with today’s walking. Greg parked the car a distance from the square and we walked to our viewing destination. After the parade we walked around the square, looking at booths, and running into Nate again, who was chatting with friends of ours. The trek back to the car then completed a good walk for Day 23.

It was a gorgeous fall day, that began with an event that is fun to watch, and never fails to tap into warm memories. Yes, I certainly do love a parade.

Maple Leaf Parade & Olivers Superbowl

Family fun continued today, after a beautiful wedding celebration last night for my daughter Adriel and new son-in-law Nate. Early this morning a group of us gathered on the square in historic Carthage, MO for the 50th annual Maple Leaf Parade. 


On this unseasonably warm morning, I waited for the parade to begin with Greg, my sister Debbie, niece Ashley and her husband Jon and sons Ethan and Kaleb, my daughter-in-law Megan and granddaughter Aubrey, and my daughter Elissa and her husband Josh. We made a merry group! 

Leading the parade was my son Nate, with the police honor guard. This year, Nate carried the American flag. Standing tall and at attention, Nate made eye contact and gave me a small smile as I snapped a pic. We cheered as the parade got under way. Grandsons Joey, Oliver and Dayan were all participants this year in the parade. We settled in to enjoy the morning and watch for the boys. 



There were elephants in the parade, from the Tarzan Zerbini Circus. They winter in Carthage. 


Josh picked up a box of Hurt’s Donuts to share. These colorful dessert type donuts, known for their outlandish toppings, are the creations of a Springfield based store that is growing rapidly and expanding its franchise. Hurt’s will be opening a Joplin shop soon. 


I said “no thank you” to a donut. But Kaleb said a big yes! He snagged the Cookie Monster donut because blue is his favorite color. 


The kids scored big at the parade, collecting candy, pens and pencils, bead necklaces and coupons and advertisements of all kinds. 



The Tiger Football floats rolled past. Joey was seated on the opposite side of the float but his teammates got his attention and he waved to us. I captured the moment by snapping a pic of his arm as he waved. 

Oliver sat facing us on his float. We waved and clapped, as he smiled and darted his eyes toward his mom. He played it cool, but those big eyes shone. 


Joey’s arm and the bill of his ball cap!


Oliver and his charming smile. 



We enjoyed more floats and bands, and then the Carl Junction Marching Bulldogs appeared at the end of the block. The band, one of the largest there, looked and sounded great! They played Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones and wowed the crowd. Apparently they wowed the judges as well. The band took first place in their division. 

The Maple Leaf hosts a marching band competition after the parade, drawing participants from a wide region. The Bulldogs took third place overall today, a great accomplishment and a fantastic end to their marching season and Dayan’s time in band. 

Dayan, on the far right. 

Tonight I completed a day of family fun by attending Oliver’s final football game of the season, his Superbowl, held in Joplin. As a third grader, this was Ollie’s first year to play Tiger football. 



Greg and I watched, proud Papa and Yaya, as this boy moved with confidence on the field, playing on the defensive team. He assisted in several awesome tackles. What a change in the team, during one season of play. I was impressed with their skill level, acquired in such a short time. 



Oliver and the 3rd grade Tiger team won their superbowl game, 14-12. It was a great, close game, well played, and the win was well deserved. We got to visit with Joey during the game. Papa gifted him with money for an after game snack. 

As the clock ran out and victory was assured, we moved down onto the field to congratulate Oliver, get a hug, and slip him cash for his snack. And we took a selfie, of course. 

What a fun day, another to add to the weekend’s cherished moments. I wouldn’t trade this journey, full of these incredible moments spent with family and friends, for anything. 

Journey 290: Maple Leaf Parade

What a fun morning, jump started by a big parade! The air was crisp with a definite fall chill to it and the sun not quite up when I headed east to Carthage, MO. This is the 49th Maple Leaf Festival, held annually in this beautiful Ozark town. The highlight of the festival is the Maple Leaf Parade, touted as the largest in southwest Missouri. 

I marched in this parade while in high school, with the Mustang Marching Band, and more recently walked the route as a realtor. Now I enjoy watching from the sidelines. And today was a special event. Four of my five grandchildren were in the parade. And my son Nate, a police officer with Carthage PD, led off the parade with the Honor Guard. Daughter Elissa, son-in-law Josh, grandson Jonathan and daughter-in-law Megan sat with me on the west side of the square. Greg joined us just as the parade was starting. 

Here are highlights of the parade, captured in photos:

 

Elissa and Jonathan

 Jonathan sporting his Link costume. 

 

Josh

 Megan and Nate

 

Megan and me

 Nate was in charge of the Honor Guard, which led off the parade

 

 One of the winners in the float category

  

This dog, wearing a hat, cracked me up. He seemed to enjoy all the attention. 

 Grandsons Joey and Oliver, with Tiger Football

 

Lots of scary floats, advertising local haunted houses for Halloween

   The Flip Shop with their trampoline on wheels

  

Grandson Dayan with the Carl Junction Marching Band, which sounded great! There were lots of bands in the parade, as there is a band competition in the afternoon. Carl Junction was awarded first place in the parade! Latest update is that they are in the finals for the afternoon marching band competition. 

 

 

 Granddaughter Aubrey, and her mom Brittany, Nana Shelby and brother AJ, with the Donate Life float. Aubrey’s Nana is a liver transplant recipient, celebrating her 6th anniversary! 

 

One never knows where a kilted man will show up!

 Or Darth Vader 😃

 

This guy was cool!

 The crowd pleasing Dancing Cobras from Springfield MO

 

Horses and mules signal the end of the parade, with the city street sweepers behind, for obvious reasons! 139 units passed by…bands, floats, businesses and organizations. 

I enjoyed the morning immensely, sitting with family, watching for grandkids in the parade, smiling as I watched my son carry out his responsibilities with dignity and ease. On the way home I found myself humming the song “I Love a Parade”, so I looked the words up. The lyrics are a fitting conclusion to this blog post. 

I love a parade, the tramping of feet,

I love every beat I hear of a drum.

I love a parade, when I hear a band

I just want to stand and cheer as they come.

Yes!