Athol Daze parade, fair celebrate town spirit
Dawn broke with a huge change in temperature as the city of Athol lined up for the Athol Daze parade on Aug. 8. Celebrating 100 years of incorporation, this lumber milling town has seen good times and bad, but these days prefers to stay apart from the growth that has overtaken much of the area.
After highs reaching almost 100 degrees the week before, the 10 a.m. parade started out at about 50 degrees, but that didn’t stop anyone from participating in the extravaganza. More than 50 parade entries were logged in, as well as a few latecomers that didn’t register.
The parade had two pipe and drum bands: the Albeni Falls Pipes & Drums, and all the way from the North Side of Spokane, the Shadle Park Highlanders Pipe and Drum Band.
There were llamas, two dromedary camels, pony carts and just about every float and display imaginable. At the end of the parade, Timberlake Fire District featured the two surviving all-woman fire brigade members. Back in the mid-’60s, Chief Joreen Bohn and firefighter Vicki Upchurch were leaders in a 17-member fire department, answering alarms with a 1942 Dodge fire engine.
A big hit was the donated sound system, provided by Solid Rock Solutions. Asked why the company did this free, owner Rudy Rudebaugh replied, “This is my town.”
Inferior sound systems were used for past parades. With the use of remote wireless speakers this year, the audience was able to hear the description of the parade entries from the time they came out of Davis Lane, all the way to city park.
The new Athol city clerk, Sally Hansen, only three-plus months on the job, inherited the duty of organizing Athol Daze, with emphasis on the centennial. Asked how she did it, Hansen replied modestly, “If it hadn’t been all of those people that stepped up to contribute both their expertise and labor, so many I can’t name them all, it wouldn’t have got done.”
Following the parade, the crowd surged over to the city park where the fair was taking place.
The skateboard contest had three categories. The 12 and under category was won by Payton Upchurch and 13-19 category by Ben Skolnik.
The hit of the show, though, was the cutest-baby contest, with several age groupings.
Daisy McCorkle won cutest and Leni McDonough won most outgoing.
Contact correspondent Herb Huseland at email@example.com. Read his blog at http://bayviews.blogspot.com/.