A little rain wouldn’t stop this parade

INDOMITABLE SPIRITS WERE ON display in the rain Sunday in Elkhart Lake.

The big parade that winds up every Fireman’s Picnic weekend each summer in the resort village is always one of the season’s highlights, but for a while Sunday it looked like there might be no highlight.

With all of the units lined up and ready to step off, and the streets lined with eager and anticipating parade-watchers, young and old, Mother Nature stepped in and did her best to wash out all the fun.

A downpour struck just minutes before the scheduled start of the parade, with the result that umbrellas popped up all along the parade route like a field of wildflowers blooming after April showers.

But it takes more than a little – or even a lot of – rain to wash out Elkhart Lake’s spirit and love of fun.

For the first time in more than two decades, the big parade made its way through the village streets as rain fell on participants and spectators alike.

The bands were still playing; the fire trucks, antique tractors and vintage cars still rolled on; the dancers still cavorted; the costumed characters still high-fived their fans; the floats almost literally floated on; and the crowd favorite University of Wisconsin Badger marching band gloriously frolicked and entertained the enthusiastic crowd with their renditions of “On Wisconsin,” “When You Say Wisconsin” and all their other favorites.

And of course, the candy flew into the crowds that lined that streets, some of it caught in eager and grateful young hands.

Much of it wound up left soggy along the curb or floating down the newly-created streams in the gutters and into the storm drains.

It left a soggy mess for the village’s Public Works crew to clean up the next day, but they did an admirable job and there were no signs left 24 hours of the soggy remains of the wet, happy parade.

Overall, it was a soggy weekend for the Fireman’s Picnic. Early evening rain Friday threatened to wash out the big fireworks display on the lake, but the skies cleared and the drops ceased in time to let the big bangs go on.

And Sunday proved that, at least in Elkhart Lake, the show must always go on, even in the face of whatever the weather has up its sleeve.

Let’s only hope that it will be at least another two decades – or more – before it dares rain on the Elkhart Lake Fireman’s Picnic Parade again.

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