Queen Mary Paige Linder and her escort, Jackson McQueen, opened the parade, preceding the greatest assemblage of queens and presidents ever. Accompanying the Queen was the Gladewater High School band, the first appearance of the Bear Band in the Yamboree in a number of years.
In all, there were 131 entries to the parade, making it perhaps the longest ever, as it took well more than an hour to wind past any point along the parade route, which was thickly lined with people.
Lady Chelsey Alexander and her escort, Brady English, danced away with “teeny boppers” to the theme of “American in Song and Dance,” the first-place entry in the Queen’s Parade, by the Gilmer Lions Club. The float picked up the blue of Lady Chelsey’s dress and featured children at a record hop, with outriders in the iconic felt skirt with petticoats.
Upshur Manor won the President’s Award among the commercial entries with “Our American Heritage,” with George and Martha Washington leading the float, which carried iconic American symbols, including the Liberty Bell, children in patriotic dress, and topped by Mount Rushmore.
Lady Michelle Yochum and the Kiwanis Club captured second place with “Fairyland.”
Princess Shelby Denise Hutto and the Rotary Club captured third place with the “Carnival of Venice,” complete with a gondolier leading the float into Gilmer.
The Iris Garden Club selected “A Salute to Broadway” for their theme with Lady Jasmin Jones arriving through an entry labeled “Dream Girls,” with several Dream Girls performing on the float.
The Twentieth Century Club celebrated its long association with the Yamboree by noting “A Moment in Time,” a float decorated with clocks with photos of past Twentieth Century Club Queens’ portraits replacing the numbers on the clocks. Lady Kayla Smith was joined by several children in formal wear on the float.
Lady Emily Chevalier and her escort Slade Morris arrive at a Mardi Gras-style ball, where the children wore masks on a float decorated in the lime green of Lady Emily’s dress, purple and gold, and a Mardi Gras-style mask rotated at the front of the float.
The success of the parade mirrored the success of the Yamboree as a whole.
Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director said income from the carnival, of which the chamber gets a share, set a record once again this year.