Peach Parade a hot event

Published 10:54 am Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ponies, politicians and peach queens paraded through downtown Clanton Saturday morning, tossing candy and trinkets to the onlookers.

Shellie Smith of Clanton said her family attends the parade every year.

“We can’t miss it,” Smith said.

This year high temperatures kept participants and viewers looking for ways to keep cool.

“We’ve got the fans,” Smith said. “And plenty of water.” Many others along the parade route stationed themselves under patches of shade to beat the heat.

The participants in the parade also had to handle the heat.

Linlee Karn, the 2009 Miss Congeniality in the Miss Peach pageant, said the heat was not her favorite part of the parade, but she would deal with it.

“I’m gonna take it like a woman,” Karn said.

Dealing with the heat was one of the main concerns for those participating in and watching the parade, but safety was the number one issue to the Clanton Police Department, who worked the parade.

“We say a lot of prayers before and during the parade,” said officer David Hicks, parade coordinator.

For the parade to run smoothly and safely, many officers and police explorers were at hand.

“You don’t do this job by yourself,” Hicks said. “It’s impossible.”

Hicks said he began working on the parade at the end of April, spending many hours each week making phone calls and mapping out the lineup.

The 2009 parade was the fourth for Hicks, but for some, this was a first-time experience.

This was the first parade for Cricket, a 5-year-old Quarter Horse ridden by Wayne Moates. Moates has been riding in the parade for several years, and said it is good training for his horses.

“It gets ’em used to the noise,” Moates said.

He also said that riding a horse in a parade can be unpredictable and requires an alert rider.

“You never know,” Moates said. “You gotta do the thinking for ’em.”