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Good Old Days makes for good old times

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ST. IGNATIUS- The sounds of fire engine sirens, car horns, horse whinnies and laughter fills the air in the St. Ignatius High School parking lot as parade organizer Debbie McCollum runs between floats and parade entries.

It’s 11:50 a.m. Saturday and the 30th annual Good Old Days parade is about to begin. Just before the start, McCollum moves to Lake County Bank’s float, a 15-foot tall piggy bank, and smiles while looking over the menagerie of brightly colored and oddly shaped parade entries. The Lake County Bank float took 15 hours to construct with a total of 10 volunteers.

“I’m very proud,” McCollum said. “It’s good to see the community get together like this.” 

A few moments later, the parade began to a chorus of applause from the St. Ignatius community. Two parade entries in particular seem to get quite a bit of attention. 

One, the grand prize winner, was a bicycle-propelled bar playing Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” as the Stewart’s Napa employees pedaled it forward.

The second crowd pleaser was a pair of miniature horses owned by David and Sandy Paris. The two pint-sized ponies - named Escapade and Ebony - pull miniature carriages containing their owners. The pair have won blue ribbons in Plains, Ronan, and now St. Ignatius.

“We always have fun; it’s a blast and the kids love these guys,” Sandy said.

After 45 minutes and more than 60 parade entries, the finale came courtesy of the volunteer fire department. Two fire engines a few hundred feet apart opened their hoses and doused the street. Hundreds of cheering kids sprinted from the shade, eager to cool off during the blistering mid-day heat.

Mayor Charlie Gariepy watched from across the street as the mob of children descended towards the massive water fountains. 

“It’s the greatest parade in Lake County,” he said. 

After a few minutes, the fire engines shut down and the crowd moved towards the Good Old Days park. Host to numerous events, the surrounding area contained dog racing, food, seven bouncy castles and a giant mud pit.

This year’s dog races featured a bag of dog food for first place in any of the three categories: small, medium and large. The award for fastest medium-sized dog in the Mission Valley went to 6-month old Allie Camel. A border collie cross, Allie’s mom Malia said she had high hopes for her after the performance. 

“She was a good girl; she did a good job, and we had a lot of fun,” Camel said. 

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