More than an hour before the 30th Annual Havre Festival Days parade was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., people from all over the area had already started to line 5th Avenue in the chilly, gray drizzle of Saturday morning.
The more entrepreneurial among them set up tables to dispense hot beverages and sweet treats.
Meanwhile, lined up on Bullhook Drive, back into the Havre High School parking lot, this year’s floats and their occupants were doing largely the same thing.
The South Alberta Pipes and Drum band came down from Medicine Hat again this year. As they warmed up, in a couple of definitions of the phrase, one piper explained what the group liked about Festival Days and the parade.
“We’ve been coming here for 30 years,” he said. “It’s really our one getaway of the year.”
Another veteran of the parade was Havre High School freshman Kylie Kaul.
Having helped out on Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway parade floats in the past, this year she trailed the freshman class float, which conceptualized homecoming opponents Butte Central High School’s ambiguous “Maroon” mascot as a group of mischievous crayons in need of “corralling,” on her family’s blue-painted horse.
Not everyone in the parade had participated before.
Among this year’s usual procession of politicians and antique cars, Montana Supreme Court candidates Beth Baker and Nels Swandal made visits to introduce themselves to Hill County voters.
Though the parade day started out gray, as the morning went on conditions improved, with evidence of actual sunshine emerging close to 11 a.m.