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Parade full of pride





PLAINVILLE -- Candy sailed through the air Saturday during Plainville's parade as flavored ice treats were distributed to thirsty onlookers dotting the streets.

Hundreds of people turned out for one of the top events in the Paradise Creek Festival and Rodeo. The heat and wind did not deter attendees from celebrating their pride in the community.

With an American flag poking out from the back of her pink electric scooter, 7-year-old Kourtney Bigge waited for the parade to begin with 31 other entrees. The engines of a dune buggy, dirt bikes and emergency response vehicles roared as the parade started.

Children cautiously retrieved candy on the street as massive farming vehicles and horses followed the caravan. Families sat in the cool shade on the sidewalks and waved as their neighbors and friends passed.

Nearly all types of local groups were represented. The diverse entries in the parade reflected the close ties running throughout the city, said Lori Benedick, a Plainville-native and the parade's organizer.

"I think that it means that we have a well-knit community. I mean, everybody's there for everybody; everybody backs everybody," Benedick said. "When anything happens, everyone's there for them. Everyone pitches in whether we really know them or not."

Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, R-Palco, drove in the parade with a sign identifying himself in his truck bed. The representative said he went to school in Plainville until sixth grade, and he enjoys returning for reunions with friends.

"I kind of grew up in Plainville, always been a special place to me," Couture-Lovelady said. "I love this event. Love the rodeo. It's always a fun weekend for Plainville."

Jason Witt, Plainville, said his 5-year-old daughter, Calliegh, was among 200 people who raced turtles at an earlier event. Many of the animals were caught in Plainville Township Lake.

"We usually take them back so they can keep breeding so they're there for next year," Witt said.

A rodeo, free barbecue, mud volleyball, street fair, scavenger hunt and a petting zoo were among the activities during the three-day festival.

Benedick said she wanted to thank Andrew Benedick and the Christian Motorcycle Club for helping line up the parade entries.