Every festival needs a parade, and the Popcorn Festival is no exception. But what makes the Popcorn Festival Parade truly exceptional is the number of parade participants and the quality of the floats that are decked out in, what else, popcorn!
Parade coordinator Helene Pierce says that last year’s Popcorn Festival parade was a huge success. “We certainly hope to have the same amount of entries, if not more, return this year. Last year we had a little over 80 entries into the parade. It was a good year for us and we hope to keep it up. We had the soapbox derby winners who had a float and we always look forward to our police and fire and emergency personnel. We had marching bands from high schools in Hebron, Kouts, Valparaiso, Washington Township, Wheeler, and the Valparaiso University Pep Band. They’re always a lot of fun. We had United Dance Arts with girls doing dancing, the Shriners, and we hope they all come back. The applications are out and people will be turning them in soon,” says Pierce
The floats are a labor of love for the organizations and companies who spend countless hours placing piece after piece of popcorn with glue and glitter to make a work of art. Pierce says, “They spend hours, days, and weeks building the floats. It’s very detailed, very involved. The Valparaiso schools’ bus barn provides us some space and groups are there working until 11 p.m. and they return the next day to continue their work. The floats require so much popcorn on them and there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into them.” Tina St. Aubin, executive director of Valparaiso Community Festivals & Events says they built one last year and so she knows firsthand the work involved. “Last year was the first year VCFE built a float and it was phenomenal. We plan to do it again with our team of volunteers,” St. Aubin says.
Pierce says the parade route will be the same as last year. In addition, float builders and parade entries are not bound by a theme in order to encourage maximum creativity and imagination.