Updated: September 2, 2014 at 9:13 am
The unofficial end to summer brought floats, music and thousands of people to the streets of Fountain on Monday for the city's annual Fall Festival.
The event, in its 45th year, featured a morning parade followed by a celebration at John Metcalfe Park, and was themed "45 Years of Memories."
Hours before the parade, people lined the sidewalks through town and set up plastic folding chairs.
The parade began on North Santa Fe Avenue near the Salvation Army and turned onto West Ohio Avenue and North Ring Street.
Father Bill Carmody, who was standing near the start of the route before the parade began, said he had been to just about all of the festivals in the past 15 years.
"It's a great opportunity for kids to showcase themselves," he said. "It brings the community together."
The festival, Carmody said, also signals the unofficial end of summer, the beginning of the school year and the start of election season.
City Council members and candidates for local and state offices took part in the parade. High school marching bands, local youth organizations and military service men and women also took part.
The crowd seemed to feed off the energy of the kids, taking photos and videos and dancing to music from the marching band and blasted through speakers.
But when marchers carrying American flags walked by, or floats with military veterans drove past, onlookers stood, some held their hands to their hearts and others clapped in reverence.
Jon Karroll, who was standing on a balcony on the second floor of the Fountain Police Department station, looked down at the procession with a clipboard and pen in hand. He was one of the parade's three judges.
Karroll said the musical entries and floats with kids were his favorites and that he was happy to be a part of the celebration.
"We're going to be stuck indoors pretty soon," he said.
"So let's enjoy it while we still can."
Near the end of the parade route, Jo Soltwedel took photos of friends as they went by.
She said she has been coming to the festival since it began and has seen many changes over the years, including more cars and fewer horses, more people showing up and a greater support for the military.
"There's 45 years of memories," she said, as the parade was ending and people started to make their way to the park.
"I hope it's as good next year."
Contact Stephen Hobbs: 636-0275