Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – The Albion Strawberry Festival Parade included about 70 different units during the energetic processional that lasted 1 hour, 45 minutes, starting at Albion Central School and concluding at the Main Street lift bridge.
The parade and festival featured a Santa Claus theme in honor of Charles W. Howard, who founded a school for Santas in Albion. He ran that school from 1937 until his death in 1966.
The top photo shows Santa on a sleigh on a 1937 Ford truck. The Albion Betterment Committee won one of the “Best Use of Theme” awards for its float.
The Santa in this photo is a graduate of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. The Betterment Committee is working on a memorial for Howard in downtown Albion.
Parade judges have announced the winners of several categories:
• Best use of theme (2 winners) – In addition to the Betterment Committee, judges wanted to recognize Holy Family Parish for its float near the beginning of the parade. Parishioners dressed as elves and in Christmas outfits to set the tone for a fun parade.
• Most original – Faith Alliance Church with its float promoting its upcoming “Maker Fun Factory Vacation Bible School” from Tuesday through Sunday on July 11 to July 16.
• Best band – The Batavia High School Marching Band wowed the judges with the size of the band and the patriotic music that was part of its show. The band is led by director Jane Haggett. Batavia generally doesn’t perform in the Albion parade. Judges were also impressed by the high school bands from Albion and Pembroke.
• Best cheer/dance – Gotta Dance by Miss Amy had a big group of dancers who maintained high-energy dancing despite the heat during the parade. This is Gotta Dance’s 20th anniversary, and 20th year of participating in the parade.
• Best public safety agency (fire department, police, ambulance) – The Albion Fire Department had strong representation from its members marching in the parade (including Jan Cheverie in front carrying flag), and also had a lineup of very clean fire trucks – and two dalmatian dogs.
• Best classic car – 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air owned by Pat Shelp. Her husband Brad is shown driving the car during the parade. Jerome Pawlak, honorary festival chairman, rides in the passenger’s seat.
• Best wooden boat – This 1960 Penn Yan Coquette is a 14-foot boat. It has been in the Papadinoff family for 55 years. Angel Papadinoff of Medina purchased it in 1962. The boat is now owned by Joanne Shippey. The boat was recently restored and cruises local lakes, the Erie Canal and the Finger Lakes.
• Best use of humor – Ridge Road Express, which provides transportation services for Albion Central School, put a big Rudolph nose and antlers on the front of a school bus. Ridge Road Express welcomed people to apply for positions as bus drivers.
• Special recognition/community service (3 recognized)
The judges wanted to recognize the Holley-Kendall Marching Band for the band’s rebirth. Holley and Kendall both have strong marching band traditions. They have restarted the marching band program this year under the direction of Zachary Busch, Hanna Bock and Drum Major Kayla Thrower. The band presented music from the 1960 classic Western, The Magnificent Seven.
Donate Life is new to the parade. The organization promotes organ donations, and is led locally by Lori Laine, whose husband Tom received a liver transplant in July 2014.
4-H for its efforts to promote its 100th anniversary this year.
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