LEHIGH - There was only one person asked to stay away from the annual Lehigh River Days celebration Saturday morning.
That character would be a certain Mr. Rain.
Everyone else was, of course. welcome.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
MEMBERS of VFW Post 1856, of Fort Dodge, lead the annual Lehigh River Days Parade Saturday morning across the Des Moines River Bridge.
Norris Smith, of Gowrie, had a theory on how to assure he didn't show up to dampen the show.
"I brought this umbrella to keep the rain away," he said as he proudly displayed the still folded device.
Smith said he attends the celebration every year, he enjoys the parade and the tossed candy and sampling a bit of something tasty.
"They always have some unique food stands," he said.
While the Lehigh parade is unique in that in turns back on itself after making a right corner after crossing the bridge, what is not unique is the collection of candy a parade watcher can end up collecting.
Caden Dorman, 9, of Harcourt, attended with his grandfather, Sam Dorman.
He forgot one minor thing, a sack to hold the candy. Instead, he collected the treats in his folded up shirt, then transferred them to his cap.
Did he regret the memory lapse?
"Yeah," he said.
Of course, keeping the candy in his hat was only a temporary solution.
"I'll get a sack when I get home," he said.
For his grandfather, a former Lehigh resident, attending the days events was part reunion, part outing to show his grandson around.
"I graduated from here in 1974," he said.
In addition to meeting old friends again, his grandson found the community to his liking.
"He likes where we used to live," he said.
There is much more to River Days than just the parade. Afterwards, entertainment was scheduled.
The Steppin' Express clog dancing group was first up. Based in Clare, the group inspired Summer Morrison, 7, of Fort Dodge, to try her feet out on some of their moves.
Her mom, Christine McCubbin, was from nearby with a smile on her face.
Attending the event is a family tradition, McCubbin said.
He favorite, hard to pin down.
"Everything," she said.
As the parade's tractors, fire trucks, various floats and bands on trailers finished the route and packed up to go home, the sky, though dark grey and threatening, didn't drop any rain on the procession.
Norris Smith, and his umbrella, take full credit.
"It kept it away," he said. "If I wouldn't have brought it, it would have poured."
The River Days celebration continues today with a community church service at 8 a.m. in the ballpark followed by a Lehigh Lions Breakfast in the ballpark shelter. The Mud Volleyball tournament begins at 11 a.m. on the east side of the river.
Visitors can also tour the Lehigh Historical Museum, shop at the Methodist Church bargain basement sale and see if their raffle tickets are winners at the 11 a.m. drawing in the ballpark shelter.
Prizes include four half hogs, savings bonds and other prizes donated by local businesses.