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State’s largest parade canceled

File Photo There will be no North Dakota State Parade in Minot this summer. The cancellation was expected following a similar announcement Monday from the North Dakota State Fair.

The state’s largest parade will be “no show” this year.

Jim Clifford, North Dakota State Parade president, confirmed to The Minot Daily News Monday afternoon that the July 18 event will not be held. The news was not unexpected. The North Dakota State Fair announced Monday morning that this year’s fair, which was scheduled for July 17-25, had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The parade and the State Fair are separate entities.

“We’re independent and have our own committee,” said Clifford. “But we go hand-in-hand with the State Fair though. This is a heartbreak for a lot of people. Everybody enjoys the fair and the parade. We get a lot of people to come out for that parade.”

The parade annually attracts thousand of spectators along a lengthy parade route to watch and wave and clap their hands as entries pass by. Politicians shake hands and candy is tossed to youngsters lining the parade route. This year though the enthusiasm for the parade, at least from prospective entrants, was obviously waning.

“Our entries were way down,” said Clifford. “The other night I think we had 43. Last year at this time we had about 120. I think everyone was waiting to see what the fair was going to do.”

Earlier this year the North Dakota State Parade named Phil Baird grand marshal for the event. Baird is a co-founder of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. The theme of this year’s parade was to have been, “Kickin’ It in Cowboy Country.” Now Baird will have to wait another year for his chance to sit atop entry number one.

“We’re going to ask him to come back next year so he won’t be left out,” remarked Clifford.

Making the marshal wait has happened before. Minot’s Ken Gillespie, “Dizzy the Clown,” was named grand marshal for the 2011 parade. That year the parade was canceled due to Souris River flooding. However, Gillespie fulfilled his honor as the parade’s grand marshal in 2012.

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