Bright blue skies and mild temperatures served as the perfect backdrop for Marshalltown's annual Oktemberfest Parade and festivities Saturday morning.
Thousands of area residents lined up and down Main Street for the two-hour parade which featured nearly 100 entries of everything from the classic Shriners to a show from "The Muppets."
Six-year-old Mason Osborne, of Marshalltown, said this was his second time to the parade - and it was awesome.
T-R PHOTO BY LUKE STALZER
The Marshalltown High School Marching Band marches down Main Street in front of the Courthouse Saturday morning as part of the Oktemberfest Grand Parade. The band was wearing their orange Not In Our Town shirts instead of regular marching band uniforms to support the anti-bullying effort.
"I really like it when they throw the candy," he said.
Kay Beach, Marshalltown School Board president and wife of the late Gene Beach, Marshalltown's mayor who died in August, served as the grand marshal. She was greeted with a warm applause from the crowd.
Denny Grabenbauer, who served as master of ceremonies, said he thought the parade was excellent this year.
"We had nearly 100 entries, and you never know what to expect until it's over with, but then you look back on it and see how really great it was," Grabenbauer said.
Judges were positioned along the parade route to survey each float entry and the winner of the best float will be announced on Monday, but if the crowd got to choose, the loudest cheers for a float went to First Rate Real Estate's Muppet's themed float. Another crowd pleaser was the Not In Our Town float which featured a replica of the county courthouse that shot confetti.
Nancy Harris, of Marshalltown, has been coming to the Oktemberfest Grand Parade for the last 15 years and said it's always a great time.
"Some of my family is in it, so I get to see them; it's just great," she said.
Overall, Grabenbauer was overly enthused with this year's turn-out and said it gave him goosebumps even thinking about how supportive and great the people of Marshalltown are.
"The streets were just full of people all the way down to Ninth Street," he said. "It just excites the heck out of me; it really does."
The festivities at Iowa's Best Family Fall Festival continue through Sunday with the carnival, food vendors and the barbecue and chili cook-off.