Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Connect with us:

Parade Day timeline and photos

(It begins earlier than people realize)

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (May the 4th, 2019) – Already at 8:00am, patches of blue sky and sunshine were breaking through the week’s clouds, and the day was promising perfect weather for the 2019 Good Neighbor Day Parade.

In the back parking lot of the Walgreens on Wentworth, five members of the Lansing Area Chamber Board were pulling numbered yellow stakes out of the bed of a pick-up truck. This is how parade day begins in Lansing.


Armed with a measuring wheel, a list of the parade entries, armloads of stakes, and a mallet, Chamber Board members (from left) Sue Thompson, Sue Seymour, Amy Todd, and Dan Merrick begin marking Wentworth Avenue so that entries will know where to line up. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Board member Karen Kleine is driving the truck. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The first 17 entries are lettered A through Q and are designated for the Lansing Police Department (which leads the parade), various veterans and military groups, the Chamber banner (displayed by Boy Scout Troop 276), and various Village and State representatives. The next 50+ stakes are numbered, and those designate other parade entries. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)


Because there were five people helping this year, and the ground was soft from all the rain, and there were fewer than 100 entries, the job didn’t take long. The final stake was pounded in around 8:45am:


Lansing Police begin closing Wentworth Avenue between 178th and Ridge Road, so it can be used as the staging area for the parade.


Parade entries were all assigned a number during registration. Those numbers correspond with the numbers on the wooden stakes. So all the parade participants begin gathering at their assigned stakes.

Both sides of Wentworth are filled with marchers, walkers, riders, floats, and decorated cars, waiting for the parade to begin. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)


As early as 1:00pm, Lansing residents begin setting up chairs along Ridge Road to enjoy the parade. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Local businesses also find ways to contribute to the community spirit that marks the day. Kris O’Connor, owner of Classy Cuts (3365 Ridge Road), set up a table and offered free nachos to parade viewers. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Lynne Cartwright (standing), owner of Lynnie Ques (3249 Glenwood Lansing Road), served food from her mobile kitchen, but she also spent time enjoying the parade with her mom. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Even Gus Bock’s Ace Hardware (3455 Ridge Road) had some food available! (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)


Lansing Police began diverting Ridge Road traffic south on Wentworth to clear the parade route. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Chamber Director Amy Todd surveys all the entries and reminds everyone to “close the gaps.” (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Parade participants begin loading their candy totes in preparation for easy distribution. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)


With Lansing Police and the Lansing Memorial Honor Guard leading the way, the 2019 Good Neighbor Day Parade eases from Wentworth onto Ridge Road, and the parade officially begins. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The beautiful weather makes it a perfect day for community members to gather along the parade route. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
This year’s theme was “May the Fourth be With You,” and members of the audience participated as well. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Every parade needs a few firetrucks. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Mayor Eidam and other elected officials were near the beginning of the parade. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
A lot of participants had fun with the theme, including Troost Coffee & Tea (18155 Roy Street) and their “Java the Hut” float. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Visible Music College provided some parade entertainment:

LACE (Lansing Association for Community Events) used the parade to let Lansing residents know about upcoming events. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The Illiana Derby Dames got into the theme:

Calvin Coolidge Elementary staff and students had fun with the theme. Cameron Spencer designed the fighter plane. The trailer included Coolidge Elementary Principal Mrs. Hodgson as Princess Leah, the school Mascot as a Jedi, Jabba the Hut, a replica of a Frozen Han Solo, a student Princess Leah, and a child Ewok. On foot were Assistant Principal Mr. Byrne as unfrozen Han Solo, some Jedis, and another Ewok. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

And Homewood Disposal decorated a garbage truck with Yoda ears and a light saber and blasted Star Wars music:


The parade travels on Ridge Road from Wentworth to Torrence, then heads north on Torrence to Arcadia, which leads directly into Lan-Oak Park. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Once at the park, paraders follow the path…
…to the large gazebo. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Band members set down their musical instruments in order to enjoy a post-parade picnic.
The Lansing Lions cook hot dogs, which were donated this year by Lansing’s Land O’ Frost (16850 Chicago Avenue). (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The Lansing Junior Woman’s Club puts the cooked hot dogs in buns and wraps them up in tin foil, ready to be served. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The Lansing Lions cooked 1,200 hot dogs to be handed out to parade participants. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

While the paraders were picnicking in the park, the Chamber Board was back on Wentworth, picking up the stakes and bundling them in order, ready for next year’s use.

By 4:00pm, most parade watchers had already folded up their chairs and returned home, and most parade participants were leaving Lan-Oak Park.

The 52nd annual Good Neighbor Day Parade had come to a close.

To view more comprehensive albums of the parade entries, visit the following links:

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.