CRYSTAL LAKE – The British are coming! The McHenry Fiesta Days Parade made its way down Green Street Sunday afternoon with an heir of royalty in tow. Floats were styled after this year's British Invasion theme led by Parade Marshall Pat Wirtz.
The streets of downtown McHenry were lined with blankets and chairs filled with residents enjoying the warm, sunny weather and parade festivities. Gymnasts, cheerleaders, live music and floats wielding water guns made their way through downtown to the crowd's delight.
Children covered their ears against the crying sirens of police cruisers and fire trucks.
Three-year-old Andi Valenziano of McHenry nuzzled her face into her father's neck against the noise, her eyes wide as the large, red fire engine passed.
Andi's mother, Terry, said her family comes to the parade each year. The long-time McHenry resident said she enjoys the parade but does miss a few of the fun additions of years past, such as the folding chair dads.
“It's a fun community event for everyone and it brings people together," Valenziano said. "And the kids love the candy.”
McHenry resident Bridget Rhoades was a candy enthusiast, as well, scrambling with the children to grab suckers and Tootsie Rolls from the sidewalk. The 26-year-old said she hasn't attended the parade in five years but decided to come out thanks to the coaxing of a good friend, and she was glad she did.
Rhoades day was made when she had the opportunity to pet one of the ponies that was featured in the parade.
“I like seeing people I haven't seen in a while since you seem to run into everyone at all of the Fiesta Days events," Rhoades said. "I'm really liking the tractors, and the marching band really livened things up.”
Rhoades reminisced about her younger years when she was a tumbler at Tumbleweeds and did back handsprings in the parade. Rhoades said she was pretty good, but not exactly at the level of the Jesse White Tumblers, which were featured in this year's line-up.
The parade marks the culmination of 2014's Fiesta Days however residents needn't be sad. In true McHenry fashion, they all know, there's always next year.