Monday's Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair parade was a polar opposite of last year: instead of rain and no parade, people strutted their stuff in what could not have been more perfect weather.
Clear skies, moderate temperature and a general buzz of excitement filling the air gave a carnival atmosphere to the annual event. Statesboro Kiwanis Parade chairman Charles Sheets was grinning from ear to ear as he directed each unit to step off for the parade that meandered through downtown Statesboro.
Sheets said there were over 120 entries in the parade.
The parade was canceled last year for the first time in history due to inclement weather, although officials waited until the last minute to say the word.
Statesboro Mayor Joe Brannen was one of the first out, riding shotgun in a shiny Statesboro Fire Department truck. Gus the Eagle pranced along with the Georgia Southern University band, and military groups shouted and stepped to the beat while beauty queens beamed from shiny convertibles.
Ray McKinney rode in a vehicle pulling a large billboard, while Sen. Jack Hill rode in an antique car, each waving to voters in hopes they would cast their ballots in their favor in a couple weeks.
Local recreation department sports teams skipped along, followed by tiny cheerleaders. Then small kids gasped or laughed as a load of frightful faces rolled past, advertising the Georgia Southern University Haunted Forest. Mill Creek Regional Park also lured people to Scar in the Boro coming up at the park.
Always a hit, the red-and-purple clad Boro Belles chapter of the Red Hat Society brought spirit and flash to the scene. Behind them were antique tractors chugging down the road, one driven by a blond toddler (with help from his Dad.)
The Statesboro High School, Southeast Bulloch High School and Portal High School bands all glowed with school pride as they marched to the beat.
The theme for the parade was "Agriculture: Strength for Recovery." Auto detailer "Attention to Detail" pulled an impressive float, with a barnyard theme. Great Beginnings Child Care did as well, with a reminder to viewers to "grow local, buy local."
Southern Cruisers rolled by with exquisitely remodeled vintage cars and trucks, followed by Farmers & Merchants Bank with a float showing a tractor tilling a plot of money trees.
Other businesses hawked their services and wares, and the parade had no shortage of Statesboro and Bulloch County firefighters in sleek trucks, a couple firefighters wearing pink uniform shirts to promote breast cancer awareness.
Statesboro Public Works also had a truck reminding citizens of its dedication to serving them.
Children rode in cute trains made out of barrels, and Factory Tire and Transmission hauled a colorful train with Sesame Street characters painted on the cars.
Bringing up the rear were the horses; New Day Cowboy Church had seven riders as well as members on a golf cart, and that group won a cash prize for having the largest group of horseback riders.
Lazarus Butcher of Glennville won a first place ribbon for his horse being decorated as a knight's steed. The parade came to an end with Stan Bragg following the horses, driving a Honda of Statesboro four-wheeler, picking up the organic fertilizer left behind, keeping Statesboro's main streets clean.
The crowd dispersed as Statesboro Police cruised the streets, and many headed to the Statesboro Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairground on Ga. 67, where the fair opened to admission of either $1, or a can, box or bag of nonperishable food. The proceeds from Monday's admission went to the Statesboro Food Bank, Sheets said.