Coming home to Marion
No matter what the theme of the Old Settlers’ Day parade, it is always about celebrating Marion.
“It’s definitely an event for people who grew up here, hence the name Old Settlers’ Day,” parade announcer Alex Case said.
Mark Saylor of the Rube Band is not a Marion graduate, but maintains deep ties to Marion.
“Marion’s in my soul,” he said. “My parents grew up here.”
Saylor is from Topeka, but often comes back to Marion, and looks forward to the parade every year.
Recognizing the city’s heritage and tradition means there isn’t a lot of change to the parade’s structure, Case said.
“We don’t ever try to introduce anything new,” he said. “We get a lot of flak for that. We need to do it this way because we’ve always done it this way.”
Out of the 65 floats, 20 were dedicated to Marion High School students or alumni.
“We had 14 class reunions in the parade,” Case said. “That’s really what’s revived Old Settlers’ Day. It would be a shell of what it is now if it wasn’t for the class reunions.”
The weekend went off without any problems, and that carried over to the parade, he said.
“We’ve had people out of order, sometimes there’s too big of a gap between entries, or not a big enough gap,” he said. “This one went pretty smooth.”
Class of 1983 alumnus Brenda O’Dell Clouse, who came from Smithville, Missouri, said 2018 was the fifth reunion she attended.
“It’s just good times, seeing all my old friends and people I grew up with,” she said.
Maintaining friendships from high school remains an important part of her life, Clouse said.
“I think you just get closer,” she said. “With Facebook now, you keep up with them, so you have more to talk about when you come back.”
The weekend’s theme, “Marion Reservoir - 50 years of fun,” commemorated a constant in the lives of Marion residents.
“It was a place everyone would go to,” Clouse said. “It’s probably continued since the reservoir has been here.”
With an enthusiastic crowd and mild weather, the parade was a fun event for everyone, Saylor said.
“It was excellent,” he said. “Because of the weather, it was wonderful. I had so much fun.”
Last modified Oct. 4, 2018