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A cool parade in Waddy

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The rain stayed away, but the crowds, floats, cars and horses were all there for a festive annual Labor Day event in Waddy.

By Lisa King

Monday dawned wet and stormy, but people in Waddy were determined not to let rain and chilly temperatures keep them from enjoying their Labor Day festivities.

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“Heck, we’ve been busy since seven o’clock this morning,” said Tracy Steinmiller, who along with Helen McKinney, watched as people waded through the wet grass to browse through a myriad of items for sell at a yard sale in the church yard at Waddy Baptist Church.

“This sale is for our youth group, and we’re glad people are not afraid to get their feet wet,” McKinney said with a chuckle.

Neal McKinney and Damon Moore joined in the merriment, talking about their church’s choice of float design for the parade.

“We decided to do Noah’s Ark this year, so we just might have a few more trying to jump onboard before its over,” McKinney said with a grin of Waddy Baptist Church’s entry.

Yard sales dotted front yards and roadsides all the way along the parade’s route, and there were no shortage of customers, who browsed through everything from clothing to toys, furniture and even pumpkins and watermelon.

Many people brought lawn chairs to set up along the parade route, and most also either wore a jacket or brought a blanket to wrap around themselves, to ward off the unaccustomed chill of nippy air in the mid-50s, compared to temperatures in the mid-80s the day before.

“People have been really lining up; we got off to a wet start, but it looks like we’ll be in good shape for the parade,” Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong said, gesturing toward the sky, where a patch of blue sky peeked through a cluster of stormy-looking clouds.

But though the crowd turned out in force for the parade and downtown festivities, the turnout at the Ruritan club afterwards was not as great as in previous years, though still good, considering the weather, Waddy Ruritan Club members said.

“We only had 31 runners in our Fun Run, and it rained out our 4-H drill team, but it looks like everybody is having a good time,” Greg Darst said

Mike Hargadon agreed.

“We’re getting off to a slow start, but hopefully we’ll pick up soon,” he said, glancing at a roomful of club members busily cooking up burgers and potato wedges, and dishing out good humor along with the food.

“Hey there, look at Matt,” a voice called over the chatter, “He ain’t done no more than turned a tater and he’s gettin’ his picture took for the paper!”

Everyone laughed, including Matt Darst.

“All in all, we’re pleased with the turnout,” said Bob Higdon as he turned out a pan full of golden brown smoked sausage.

“But wouldn’t you know it! It ain’t rained for a month and now look. But we really need it, so we can’t complain too much.”