Under crystal clear and cool skies, a large crowd eagerly awaited the Queen’s Parade. The Gilmer High School band and Queen Karlie Carol White and her court opened the hour-long parade. Queen Karlie stood atop her white float with the children seated on the stairs and below with escort Christopher Bloyd at the top of the stairs.
About midway in the parade, there was an unexpected delay for those surrounding the square. Among those waiting were Frank Bobalik, a 95-year-old who had never seen a parade before, and young Lizzie Bryant, 1-year old daughter of Amanda Bates Bryant. Audiences also delighted in watching Yambo and Ree tow Chitlin’ Switch’s Fire Truck, as efforts are still taking place to restore the favorite comic entry.
The first-place winning float carrying Lady-in-Waiting Iesha Tatyana Fluellen of the Iris Garden Club kept them waiting as her father Ike Fluellen wove his truck and the float from side to side up Titus Street, seeking the best clearance for the “Dove Fabrege’ Egg” which topped his daughter’s float. When he cleared the first hurdle at the intersection of Scott and Titus Sts., the packed Yamboree crowd erupted in spontaneous applause.
For the School Parade on Friday, the conditions were bright cloudy weather as the misty rains from earlier in the week held off. There were one or two brief showers Friday afternoon, but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the thousands of visitors which crowd Gilmer each third weekend in October.
Lady Iesha Fluellen stood in the midst of a colonnade which was topped by an egg-shaped bird cage in which rode white doves. In the garden scene in front of her, her escort MaLiquen Fluellen, two cherubs, and a young man in formal dress stood near a fountain where a dove rested.
By contrast, Lady-in-Waiting Katelynn Meadows and the Kiwanis Club selected the Winter Palace for their theme, as she in her icy blue gown and Garrett Colton Parish stood amidst columns as a bubble machine blew frothy bubbles like snow over the group of children. Skinny leafless trees in silver were decorated with snow flake ornaments, and one couple rode in a sleigh as they helped carry out the second- place winning theme.
In third place, Lady-in-Waiting Emily Buettner and John Tanner Barr, her escort, stood under a crown as they carried out the theme “Diamonds by Fabregé” for the Lions Club. Picking up on the red of her dress and the black and white of his formal wear, the float in red, black, and white included soldiers in red jackets and black “bearskin” hats, and huge diamonds topped pedestals near Lady Emily’s platform.
Lady Macy Alexandra Elms, representing the Rotary Club, and escort Thomas Blake Rice arrived at a Holy Coronation with one pair of children arriving in a carriage with the initials M.E. on the door. Other children represented Orthodox priests at the ceremony, or Russian royal escorts. The presentation was in the blue, white and red of Imperial Russia.
Lady Melainie Williams and escort John Edward Dean II, rode on a float highlighted by cornflower blue drapes. The contrast to the Bluebonnet Club’s representative’s brilliant rose dress, the cornflowers joined giant bouquets on pedestals in a garden filled with costumed children.
Lady Shaylee Brooke Fennell and her escort Dylan Dean Adkinson rode on the last of the floats in the Queen’s Parade. “Cupid” was the theme, and four cupids stood near a heart wrapped in the same fabric as Lady Shaylee’s pink dress.
Additional entries included the classic and antique cars from the Yamboree Car Show, a group of youngsters in orange and black from the A.W. Brown Leadership Academy in Dallas (with Upshur County alumni among the parents), and the DeSota Eaglettes, whose director is a Gilmer alumna.
Capturing first place in the School Parade with the theme “Passion,” Lady Elissa Lynn Irvin, Duchess of Harmony High School, and her escort were in pink as were the children seated on the float in front of the twin towers of “Windsor Castle.” Walking along side the float were her military escorts in red jackets, black pants and bearskin hats.
Gilmer High School with Duchess Makayla Sikes and escort Mitch Lange captured second place, with their float emphasizing the double eagle emblem of Russia as seen on a huge black and white Fabregé Egg at the front. The Imperial Eagles which topped the columns on the float interestingly carried a “G” in the logo design used by the Buckeyes.
Capturing third place among the school entries was the Big Sandy ISD float, which carried two duchesses from the court: Lady Madaline Rachelle Lane of the Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce in lavender and Cecily Kristina Michelle Kent of the Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce representing ruby. The duchesses stood in front of a castle like building, “the Osborne House,” with children on the grounds of the house.
The only junior youth entry to follow the required theme were the Cub Scouts of Ore City and Diana in Pack 307. All the young Scouts sported golden crowns as they rode through the two parades, while the Cub Scouts of Pack 314 were on a canoeing trip, and the Girl Scouts of Upshur County, Service District 368, were on a green and white float with Girl Scout themes.
On the President’s Award- winning float in the Queen’s Parade rode Lady Amber Rochelle Ballard, Duchess of Union Grove, and Cecily Sue Massey, the Duchess of Gilmer Chamber of Commerce. “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not,” with a large daisy hanging under a garden trellis, was the theme of the Ballard Electric float.
The Queen’s Award went to Gilmer Nursing and Rehabilitation for their float with two staff and three children.
Wesley House had a float with King Dick Wiley and Queen Janet Baker.