Marking spots for parade a family tradition in LaPorte

2013-07-03T14:30:00Z 2013-07-05T11:25:05Z Marking spots for parade a family tradition in LaPorteStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 03, 2013 2:30 pm  • 

LAPORTE | LaPorte residents flocked to both sides of Ind. 2 on Wednesday to claim spots for watching the Fourth of July parade, which draws thousands of people each year.

Some go as far as driving stakes into the ground to hold down tarps to save their space. 

Blankets and lawn chairs were also set out in areas sometimes roped off by people making sure they have a prime spot along the parade route to sit.

Some may think reserving a spot 24 hours in advance of a parade is unusual, but for many local residents, it's a tradition dating back to their childhoods.

"This is what we do," said Mandy Sherrick, 38, who helped her father, Jim Davis, 65, in marking a spot for their families and friends in front of Horizon Bank.

Davis said it's the same area that he has sat to watch the parade even while he was growing up.

"We've been doing it like forever," said Patty Perez, 34.

Some people used to mark their spots days in advance until the city adopted an ordinance requiring nothing be set out until at least 24 hours before the start of the parade to prevent the city from looking too cluttered.

Many people, though, showed up along the parade route at 6 a.m. to make sure nobody else took their favorite spot.

Nick Pearish, 16, and Gino Francesconi, 15, put stakes into a large tarp in front of Dairy Queen like they have for years because they like to get an ice cream during the parade.

They plan to sit with family and friends like 42-year-old Tracey Cummins.

"Twenty years, this is where we've sat," Cummins said.

A few people over the years have been known to even camp out at their spots along the parade route.

Ashley Rheinholtz, 27, took time off from her job at IU Health LaPorte hospital to mark her spot with yellow tape with cousin, Amanda Cowgill also 27.

As always, Rheinholtz said she'll be situated between the hot dog and other vendors and the restrooms at Family Video across the highway.

"Every town has their thing and this is LaPorte's thing," Sherrick said.

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