MALDEN | About 45 minutes before the start of the annual Malden Labor Day parade, Alfred Strehler pulled up in his golf cart and asked if he could be a part of it.
“I've watched it every year since they've had it, but I've never been in it,” he said.
Lee Kleist, treasurer of the Morgan Township Volunteer Fire Department, which sponsors the parade, told Strehler to go ahead and join the other entries lining up near Jake's Feed and Garden on Ind. 49.
Anyone who wants to be in the parade is welcome, even those who show up at the last minute, Kleist said.
“This is all about community,” he said.
Strehler, who was accompanied by his son, Tim, and Meg Kistler, had filled the golf cart with bags of candy they planned to throw to children along the parade route.
“It's a nice little hometown thing,” he said of the event.
Now in its 15th year, the parade featured an array of floats, firetrucks, tractors, antique cars and trucks, and a marching band of students from Washington and Morgan township high schools.
Rachel Hannon, leader of the Morgan Hustling Hoosiers 4-H Club, stood by a float adorned with drawings of red firefighter hats and the names of Morgan Township firefighters.
“We wanted to salute our firemen,” Hannon said. “The girls really had fun decorating it.”
Sandy Bedenkop-Morgenroth helped her friends put the finishing touches on a float they created to honor her retirement Nov. 1 as the Morgan Township and Malden mail carrier.
“This has been my route for close to 32 years,” she said. “We just wanted to say thank you to my customers. I'm going to miss them.”