Memorial Day Parades will be hit and miss in Michiana

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - Parades have traditionally been a big part of marking the Memorial Day holiday in some Michiana communities.

This year, they will be hit and miss.

In cities like South Bend and Mishawaka, parade plans have been cancelled.

Parades will go on in the likes of Elkhart and Osceola.

“For 72 years we’ve continuously had an event and even though we had the virus thing and what not, we’ve been persistent,” said Tom Krueger with the Osceola Business Association.

In 2020, COVID 19 forced Osceola to downgrade its’ parade down the main drag to an in-vehicle caravan through the town’s neighborhoods.

This year’s version promises to be more like the pre-pandemic parades.

“We’ll have antique cars. We’ll have an antique fire truck, and we’ve got the Penn High School Band to lead off the parade,” said parade chairman Randy Leliaert.

But Leliaert says signs will have to be posted that provide a phone number one can call to have face masks and hand sanitizer delivered to them, and this year the boy scouts will be extra prepared. “As they march down the parade route, they’re going to be handing out buckets of, well not buckets, they’ll have buckets of hand sanitizer that they’ll hand out to anyone that needs a squirt.”

Realizing that some parades in other communities have been cancelled, officials in Osceola are inviting spectators and parade participants from those communities to take part in the Osceola celebration.

“If someone wants to participate this year, I would love this year to be bigger and better,” Tom Krueger told 16 News Now. “We’re inclusive. We want to have as many people to participate as possible.”

Officials say it took seven weeks for the health department to approve the parade plans which tended to slow participant applications.

Anyone interested in participating in the Osceola parade is asked to call 574-514-5171.

“It’s all about liberty and our defense of liberty and the people that have given their all in defense of our liberty and freedom,” Leliaert explained. “And so it’s a small thing to do to have a Memorial Day Parade to honor those people who have given their all.”

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