Chilly temperatures and an occasional drizzle kept some people away Saturday, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd lining the sidewalks along the route for the 63rd annual Plainfield Homecoming parade.
People came prepared, bundled up against the cold wearing parkas, scarves and gloves, some even wrapped in blankets, but the atmosphere remained upbeat and sunny.
Brandon Bunch of Emergency Management said this was his third year at the parade helping direct traffic and keeping things moving. “This weather will definitely keep some people away,” he agreed, but hoped it would “hold off’ until after the parade.
Arriving early to claim a good spot, many set up folding chairs along the parade route. Peter and Tabitha Bullock and their small children were just one of the many families who came out to watch their children march in the parade – in this case their 12-year-old who is in the Drauden Point School band.
Kathy and Clyde Collins of New Lenox were there with their daughter-in-law Tonia, whose two daughters were both in the parade. Lindsey, a cheerleader at Plainfield Central, was marching for her third year, her mom said, and her sister Kelsey was in the Freshman Court. Others, like Frances Dodson, came because they’ve been “coming for years.” Both of her children went through Plainfield schools.
Teens and middle school kids were on hand to cheer for their friends in the parade, but one young couple, Kristin Brady and Gregg Sopko, recent newcomers to Plainfield, came out solely “to lend support to the community.”
The theme of “Disney on Parade” was carried out in many of the floats. Cruella De Vil was spotted riding in the parade and Snow White and some companions were passing out apples as they marched behind the Peter Rubi Produce Truck. Not only were Disney princesses waving from parade floats but a couple of smaller ones were spotted on the sidelines as well. Even the marching bands kept with the Disney theme by performing some well-known tunes like “It’s A Small World.”
Some people traveled more than a few miles to attend the homecoming events and watch the parade, like Denise Widdup, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, class of 1977. Widdup, who planned on attending the alumni tea later in the day, brought her mom, Bernice, 89, to watch the parade.
Nancy (Bennett) Harris and her husband Paul Harris, both Plainfield alumni, come back for homecoming every five years. Their class – the class of 1964 - had a good turnout for their 50th reunion this year. According to Paul, 70 out of a class of 125 returned and about 40 of them either rode or walked in the parade.
Some stores, like What’s New & Simply Saucy opened early to accommodate the crowd and Cathy’s Bake Shop had extra large containers of coffee and rich hot chocolate available for anyone needing to warm up.