The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 4, 2013

The show must go on

OTTUMWA — No amount of rain — or questions about rain — could get a wishy-washy response from one Oktoberfest organizer.

“We ARE going to have a parade,” said Bob Riley, parade director, when asked how the weather might affect today's event.

According to the National Weather Service, the worst threat of rain and thunder today will be before “lineup” for the parade begins just west of downtown. But the NWS often adjusts its predictions as it gets closer to the specific time they’re talking about.

There is a lesser chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout the morning, but it’s still a possibility, especially until 1 p.m., says the National Weather Service. By that time, the parade is usually completely over, and that is about the time high school bands start their drum-line competition at the Oktoberfest tent .

But that forecast doesn’t really matter.

“I’ve had the parade when we’ve had sleet and ice or [other bad] weather. We’re having it,” said Riley on Friday morning. “I may have to make provisions, but it’ll go on.”

Provisions?

“For example, the marching bands have those expensive uniforms. If necessary, I’ll have their school bus follow each band as they march — if it starts to rain, they get on the bus.”

One question remaining, of course, is what the public will decide. The crowds lining the sidewalks of downtown Ottumwa may be bigger or smaller than last year. And organizations and individuals in the parade will have to make their own decisions early Saturday. But if they do show up, Riley is willing to do whatever it takes.

“I’ll make it work,” he said.

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

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