OTTUMWA — The 40th Oktoberfest parade had cooperation from the crowd, from the floats and from the weather.
“I think everything went pretty well,” said Oktoberfest chair Jack Guiter. “It looked to me like the sidewalks were lined [with spectators] as much as in previous years.”
Of the parade itself, he said, there were a lot of “interesting” entries.
“I screamed when I saw a zombie!” said Kyran Spees, 6 of Ottumwa.
“I liked the skeletons and their black eyes,” added Joplyn Knott, 5.
Joplyn and her buddy Kyran were just two of the little ones who got to march in the parade. In this case, they were behind the float with zombies and skeletons. One of them, at least: This year, the horror theme seemed more prevalent. Plenty of businesses had their own floats, as well as candidates for office and non-profit organizations. In fact, Kyran and Joplyn were riding in support of the “Race for the Cure” float.
Organizers decided a pink ribbon wasn’t going to get their cause enough public attention. Joplyn explained how she and the other children helped.
“Riding three little pink tractors,” she said.
And what was in those tractors?
“Um, a steering wheel, and a seat ... and pedals …”
“And us!” called out Kyran.
The float judges take several factors into account as they decide who will get the trophy for top float. It’s tradition that the
Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce decides the winners.
“We have volunteers do the judging,” said executive director Tim Kurtz. “They’ll tally up the votes.”
They break the floats into categories, like commercial and non-commercial, and look for characteristics like overall creativity.
“We encourage these types of events,” Kurtz said, adding that Oktoberfest brings in a large number of visitors. “I saw a lot of different license plates. Plus we’re all about bringing communities together. “