SHABBONA – While it rained on nearly everything at the Shabbona Hometown Festival on Saturday, it didn’t rain on the parade.
Fire trucks and ambulances sounded their sirens as they lined the streets for the parade, with Hometown Citizen of the Year Frank Ottengheime serving as grand marshal.
“It’s a good display of loyalty and patriotism to small-town America,” said Julie Griffith, Study Skills Plus owner and tutor.
People in vehicles and floats tossed candy to spectators. Children scurried to grab the lollipops and Tootsie Rolls.
Allison Kidd-Probst’s husband, daughter and son were in the parade because her husband is a Shabbona volunteer firefighter. It was not their first time participating in the parade.
“My son is the one who enjoys being in the firetruck and being able to throw candy at people,” Kidd-Probst said.
Local businesses and families sponsored the event, with all fundraising coming from donations, said volunteer Jamie Deutsch.
The event included carnival rides, 15 local vendors and an ice cream eating contest.
When the rain picked up later in the day, the festivities still went on, even when the inflatable castles turned into swimming pools and the slide became a slip-n-slide.
Amelia McClane, 8, was one of the kids jumping in the castles. With her hair and clothes completely soaked, she said she was still having fun.
“It’s like Candyland in there,” McClane said after climbing out of the inflatable castle. “It’s filled with water, and I can just go woosh!”
By the time the weather worsened, it was too late to cancel the festival, Deutsch said.
Those who stuck around included the vendors, like Screamer’s Ice Cream. Owner Scot Ostrander was selling burgers, hot dogs and, of course, ice cream.
Ostrander said he felt obligated to participate at the festival, but in a good way.
“I enjoy the camaraderie of the community,” he said. “It’s neat seeing all the people.”
Screamer’s hosted the ice cream eating contest. At last year’s contest, employees pulled a prank on fellow employee Claire Goodrich. Leftover ice cream was used to smash all over Goodrich’s face.
“I was sticky for the rest of the day,” Goodrich said.
The Shabbona Fire Department will host an “all you can eat” pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. July 4. A fireworks show will take place at night.
Screamer’s Ice Cream will close at 11 p.m. July 4.