LANSING | It was not uncommon to see kings, knights and even dragons in downtown Lansing on Saturday afternoon, as parade participants got into the spirit of the "Renaissance Lansing" theme of this year's Good Neighbor Day parade.
The annual parade is put on by the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce as a way to promote local businesses and good citizenship.
Dr. Renee N. Hale, executive director for the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Renaissance theme was originally based on celebrating what she said is an economic renewal being experienced in Lansing after the 2008 recession.
"But the theme really lends itself well to knights in shining armor and kings and queens and so forth, and so it's a very exciting and fun theme for people to decorate with," she said.
About 100 entries that included businesses, churches and schools marched from the starting point of Ridge Road and Wentworth Avenue to Torrence Avenue, and eventually on to Lan-Oak Park.
"Usually there's about 1,500 (people) who actually participate in the parade and about 1,500 who watch," Hale said. "It's an event full of nostalgia and tradition and people love it and they come back for it."
Two regular parade attendees are Bill and Rena Meyerchick, of Lansing. They sat near Beggar's Pizza on Ridge Road as they waited for their grandchildren to join them.
Bill Meyerchick said the parade is a good way to bring residents together after many might not have seen each other over the long winter.
"It also brings other people from other towns," he said. "It's good for the community to bring people in and show off the community."
Lacey Welch came from Highland to watch the parade with her two children. She said they come every year because the kids enjoy it.
"We like to collect candy," said Joshua Welch, 8.
Jamal McCann, 22, marched in the parade along with a group representing the Patti Leach Youth Center. He was dressed as a king, complete with the robe, crown and scepter.
It was McCann's first time participating, but he liked the idea behind the Good Neighbor Day parade.
"I think it's good, 'cause everybody should have good neighbors," he said.