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Morning Sun
  • Arma V-J Homecoming a parade of traditions

  • It might have been The Rampage ride at Toby’s Carnival, which was new this year, or it might have been abnormally cool weather. Whatever the reason, far more people than is typical stuck around downtown Arma after the parade and kids’ games to celebrate the 66th annual V-J Homecoming.

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  • It might have been The Rampage ride at Toby’s Carnival, which was new this year, or it might have been abnormally cool weather. Whatever the reason, far more people than is typical stuck around downtown Arma after the parade and kids’ games to celebrate the 66th annual V-J Homecoming.
    The sky was overcast Saturday morning as floats and vehicles lined up for the homecoming parade, but that didn’t stop people from showing up. The parade, which was led by members of the American Legion, stopped at the grandstand as Northeast High junior Ellie Dearing sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Dearing, who sang it at last year’s parade as well, said she was humbled to be asked to perform the national anthem.
    “I’m extremely honored to be able to sing for my town,” Dearing said. “I get really excited.”
    Typically, each float and car would stop at the grandstand to be judged, co-ordinator assistant Dave Ashmore said, but this year the judges decided to keep it moving and wait until after the parade to pick winners.
    “And we wanted to give the crowd something to go see afterward,” Ashmore said.
    Even the parade seemed bigger than normal, crowd members were overheard saying. There were local legislators and candidates seeking to collect votes in November. There were antique John Deere tractors and multiple vintage cars and trucks. Three or four area fire departments showed up in their polished rigs, dazzling the younger viewers with their flashing lights, sirens and horns and sheer bulk. A number of religious organizations and rest homes maintained floats in the parade, and 2012 Crawford County Fair Rodeo Queen Sam Sarley made her first appearance.
    This year’s homecoming theme is “Let’s Dance,” and a number of organizations took the theme to heart. Several of the local chicken houses had groups of people doing the chicken dance behind their floats.
    “I think it’s good,” said Linda Miller, who brought her grandson, 5-year-old Ryddr, and granddaughter, Evanie, 7, Grosstephan, to the parade. “There’s a lot more here than there was last year. We come every year.”
    Homecoming Chair Kathryn Richard said she thinks the successful turnout to events is because of the cool weather, but also because the festival had been pushed back a week.
    “Part of it is the weather,” Richard said. “Also, school just started and people are back in town. We were told we had to have a carnival and this was the week we could get it.”
    Arma City Clerk Bette Lessen said she was pleased with the crowd.
    “I think the turnout’s really good,” said Lessen, who was strolling the carnival with her husband, Rob. “The weather is supreme this year. People usually wander away when the kids games are over, but they’re still here. My nieces and nephews came down. It’s a hootin’ and hollerin’ time.”
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