Parade opens fair

In grand tradition, the annual Washington County Fair Parade will usher in the first day of the fair festivities Saturday morning.

This year’s parade is coming together with some great attractions that no one will want to miss, said Aaron Oliver, parade chairman for the Washington County Fair Board.

A highlight Oliver is particularly excited about is the patriotic pilgrimage of a giant American flag through the parade route.

Oliver and Sylvi Caporale-who will serve as a parade marshal along with husband Jim-are still looking for volunteers to help carry the 30-foot by 60-foot flag. Around 75 volunteers are needed, and participation is completely free, said Sylvi.

There will also be a calliope following the giant flag, said Oliver.

“It will be following the flag, playing patriotic music. It’s going to come in the gate. There we’ll have the National Anthem kick off the fair,” he said.

Wednesday morning, Sylvi received confirmation that a 15-foot by 25-foot P.O.W. flag-the largest in the nation-will also be marched along the parade route.

There will also be a troop carrier in the parade, which can carry around 40 veterans who want to participate but can not walk, she said.

Those interested in helping carry a flag or riding in the troop escort can contact Sylvi at 373-4262.

Another big attraction motoring through the parade route will be General Lee, the orange Dodge Charger famously driven in the television show The Dukes of Hazzard.

The car and others from the show will be the main attraction at the fair Monday night during the Northeast Ohio Dukes Hazzard County Stunt Show.

The Marietta Fire Department will be continuing its annual Fill the Boot Campaign, collecting money for a good cause as firefighters and family members march in the parade.

The marchers will be carrying empty fire boots and collecting money to support the fight against muscular dystrophy, said firefighter Eric Moore.

“What I really want people to know is that 100 percent of what we collect goes straight to the Muscular Dystrophy Association,” said Moore.

The money raised helps the national campaign as well as local families affected by the disease.

“The firefighters have worked with the Muscular Dystrophy Association for a long time, and it’s a really important cause to us….If people see the firefighters with their boots, we encourage them to give what they can, even spare change,” said Moore.

The parade will follow its usual route, taking off from Ohio Street at 10 a.m., turning onto Second Street, then Greene Street, and finally marching along Front Street to the Fairgrounds at Fair Avenue, said Oliver.

Unlike previous years, Oliver is not setting a deadline for participation confirmation. Groups can still come the day of the parade and sign up, he said. The fee for a group or organization to participate is $10. So far, around 65 groups have confirmed participation, said Oliver.