It is thanks to the volunteer efforts of Stephen Page, Frank Ifkovic, H. Logan Page, III and Todd Page that the parade entertains between 2,000 – 3,000 people each year the Saturday morning of Guilford Fair weekend. People of all ages are expected to line the route as the parade makes its way around the Guilford Green to Boston Street and out to the Guilford Fair grounds on Lovers Lane.
This committee has been at the helm for about 29 years, with a few changes in members here and there. A couple years ago Page said when they considered disbanding, his son, Todd, stepped up. “He got involved with it after seeing me do it all the years that I did,” said Page. “A couple years ago we talked about giving it up and he convinced me he would help me as long as I kept doing it.”
Working together for so many years has its benefits. “It’s not a tremendous amount of work only because we’ve been doing it for so long,” said Page.
Way before the 10 a.m. start of the parade the committee determines the line of marchers. They then meet at 7 a.m. to mark the order of parade participants, in chalk, on the street. Stewards will be on hand, starting at 7:30 a.m., to assist parade participants and all are expected to be in line by 9:00 a.m.
Sixty marching units, including 14 music units, floats from the 4th grade classes at A.W. Cox School, Calvin Leete Elementary School, Guilford Lakes School, marchers from Abraham Baldwin Middle School, civic organizations, Guilford High School reunion classes and businesses will follow.
The Guilford Savings Bank has a place of honor as the sponsor of the event. While the parade was originally dependant on donations, Page explained that a number of years ago the Guilford Savings Bank stepped up as the main sponsor. The cost of the parade is about $8,500 and covers liability insurance, payment to the marching bands, cash awards to the winning floats, and purchase of award ribbons.
“They’re the main reason it probably still goes on,” said Page.
This year’s theme, Mardi Gras, will be interwoven throughout the parade. Each school entry is judged and ribbons are given for most creative, most original, best use of props, best use of costumes and best design.
The committee, the parade stewards, the judges and the Guilford Savings Bank work well together after so many years as a team. Page says there is only one thing that he worries about as the day approaches.
“The biggest deal is watching the weather report,” he said. “Hoping it’s not going to rain, that’s usually the biggest thing at this point. We’ve been doing it long enough now that we work together very well. It pretty much goes like clockwork as long as the weather cooperates.”