Annual Grand Parade was a crowd pleaser

Part of the 59th annual State Center Rose Festival

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STATE CENTER — The 59th Annual State Center Rose Festival celebrated the town’s historic Rose Garden, it’s people and its founding 150 years ago, in a celebration spanning four days. On Saturday morning, the Grand Parade down Main Street drew a crowd numbered in the thousands.

“This year’s festival theme is ‘Whistles & Roses,” because State Center was founded as a train depot, and of course because of the roses,” said festival coordinator Buffi Honeck.

The Grand Parade started at the Gutekunst Public Library and wound its way down the street, ending at the baseball field.

Dancers, Boy Scouts, youth groups, veterans, members of law enforcement and student musicians marched in the parade. Harlan and Jeanette Kloppenborg served as the Grand Marshals.

Unique to this year’s celebration was the inclusion of folks appearing in the parade who have specific ties to the town’s history.

“We encouraged anyone who has a Century Farm or has been in the community a long time to sign up to be in the parade in honor of State Center’s sesquicentennial,” Honeck said.

There were around 120 entries in the parade.

This year’s Rose Festival royalty rode in cars and floats in the parade, waving to their admirers along the street. They were crowned in a ceremony held Friday evening. Grace Porter was crowned queen, Eden Buck was crowned princess, and Little Mr. Rosebud went to Jacoby Honeck and Little Miss Bud went to Mia Christianson.

Families and friends congregated along the streets, setting up chairs and umbrellas to keep cool in the humid sunny weather. Youngsters giggled as they ran into the street, grabbing up sweet treats that were thrown by parade participants.

“This was my son’s first parade and I wanted him to experience it,” said Brittany Peterson.

Others in attendance were there for the first time.

“We came out here with family who live in the area, so it’s my first time attending the Rose Festival,” said Kelsey Baker.

After the parade ended, the festivities continued with entertainment options in front of the fire station, plus a quilt show, Extreme Fun Zone, beard growing contest, food, games, prizes and more.

“I grew up here and I try to come back for it every year. We enjoy the parade and the carnival too,” said Anna Hewett.

For a full list of events, visit: statecenterrosefestival.org

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com