BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The 108th annual Charlie Korschgen 4th of July Kiddie Parade will be just a bit different this year.
But Chairman Andy Andrews said there was no way he wasn’t putting it on.
“I was going to have it whether I had five kids or 125 kids,” Andrews said. “That’s my impression of it. It’s been pretty dear to my heart since I got involved with it back in the 50s.”
The annual parade celebrating our community’s youth, and our nation’s birthday, will begin as usual down Avenue G eastbound from 18th Street through downtown to the Moose Club at 6th and G, on Saturday, July 4 at 10 a.m.
But due to the COVID outbreak, a few tweaks had to be made – the most important being there will not be a registration.
Andrews said participants should show up in the staging area and he will just feed them into the route along with the other usual participants.
No school bands will be part of this year’s event, and health guidelines are prohibiting hot dogs from being served.
“We’ll still have the push pops and bottled water,” Andrews said. “We usually have hot dogs, but the health department isn’t allowing that this year.”
The parade will also be without judging, trophies, or prize money. Andrews said this year it will be just a parade in the truest sense of the word.
Not only is the COVID spread directly “raining on the parade” but Andrews said there is marked lack of volunteers and funding, which could also be blamed in part on the virus.
The Grand Marshals for the parade are area 2020 high school graduates, and the newly conferred grads will lead the parade with Mr. Korschgen’s big bass drum that has been part of the parade since 1949.
Andrews said the real disappointment is that without a registration, the kids that take part in the parade this year, will not be a part of the parade’s history.
The Parade dates back to 1912 and has taken place every year on the 4th of July holiday with the exception of a few years where the rain date kicked in on the following day. Andrews said one year he had to delay the start until 1 p.m.
Andrews has been involved with the parade since the 1950s and stepped away for a four-year stint in the Navy. He returned in 1968, where he stepped in and chaired the event again for the Fort Madison Jaycees, and then rotated chairing the event for years with Bill Holvoet.
Anyone interested in helping with the parade and keeping the children safe along the route is asked to call Andrews at 319-371-5379 or Rusty Andrews at 319-470-9413.