ELLINWOOD — This year’s After Harvest Festival Parade in downtown Ellinwood spanned several generations. It featured area youths as well as alumni and former teachers from Wheatland School, which closed 50 years ago. But the oldest entry was Duane Schwab’s 102-year-old 1914 Model T Ford Touring Car.
Before the car carrying Ellinwood Chief of Police Art Keffer signaled the start of the parade, there was a children’s parade. Some youngsters carried a banner promoting the Ellinwood Rotary/Community Splash Pad Project. Emcee Joe Curtiss said the Rotary Club is working with the City to build a splash pad on the west side of the municipal swimming pool.
“We will be the first community in Barton County to construct a free splash pad,” he said. The project will provide hours of safe water fun while advancing fitness.
Youths were also in the official parade. The Ellinwood High School Marching Band played the school fight song, “On You Eagles,” riding on a float behind the EHS Spirit Squad.
The Retired Ellinwood Fire Department entry was a LaFrance fire truck driven by retired EFD Chief Art Huslig. The truck was purchased by EFD in 1955 and sold to the Rozel Fire Department in 1989. It was brought back to Ellinwood last year.
The American Legion Post 320 in Ellinwood has a float that displays all 50 state flags, 19 national flags from various periods of our nation’s history, and flags of the five branches of service. This year it won first place in the All Around category of parade entries.
Ellinwood Rotary Club coordinates the parade. Featured Rotary honorees were 2016 Grand Marshal Larry Panning and 2016 Distinguished Citizen Karen Kramp.
Panning, now retired, farmed in the area for six decades. He has been on the Ellinwood City Council and on irrigation boards, and was the 1992 Distinguished Citizen Award winner. The Pannings helped start Ellinwood’s 4-H Club.
Kramp is an Ellinwood Hospital Auxiliary member who is active in many clubs as well as St. Joseph Catholic Church. She does other volunteer work, such as Meals on Wheels and the Ellinwood Food Bank.
Each year the AHF Parade features several class reunions. The Class of 1961 rode on golf carts with a jingle reminiscent of the 1960s Burma Shave advertisements. Theirs read, “Sometimes up, sometimes down – the Class of ’61 is still around!”
The Wheatland Reunion float celebrated Barton County’s largest rural school. It operated from 1950-1966. Emcee Curtiss noted there are at least seven former Wheatland teachers living today, and two planned to be on the float: Lorrayne Eveleigh and Carol Sonnevik.
The dogs walking in the Golden Belt Humane Society’s parade entry were available for adoption.
Note: Information taken from the Ellinwood After Harvest Festival Parade narrative. The parade committee included Kent Roth, Rosie Joiner and Irlan Fulbright, with at least a dozen assisting Ellinwood Rotary Club members. Judges for the parade were Theresa Younker, Jamie Kasselman and Lois Johnson.