TIPP CITY — It might have been the first fall Saturday of the year, but visitors to the 59th annual Tipp City Mum Festival were feeling the summer heat.
Festival organizers said they were lucky to have such beautiful — if hot — weather for the weekend, which typically draws big crowds to the city.
The parade kicked off the weekend Saturday morning and in keeping with this year’s theme of “Honoring Our Heroes, Near and Far,” included military and first responder units.
“The parade went really well, so I’m happy,” festival president Dave Bechtol said. The parade last a little more than an hour long and featured local marching bands, city and county officials, teams, scouting groups, first responders, military groups and more.
Bechtol, a retired Naval officer and veteran of Desert Storm, planned the theme to honor the military and first responders. The parade grand marshals, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, were especially near to his heart as a veteran, he said.
“The parade was excellent,” festival volunteer and next year’s president Bill House agreed. “I always enjoy seeing the community come out and folks from far and wide.”
At Saturday morning’s Run for the Mums 5K, House noted that one woman came all the way from South Africa for the event. He added that his future in-laws came out from Chicago to enjoy the festival.
From the parade, festival-goers made their way back to City Park, where a record number of vendors were waiting. Bechtol said that organizers worked hard to make improvements to the festival this year, bringing in more and newer merchants, craftsmen and food options.
Next year’s theme hasn’t been chosen, although plenty of people have asked, House said.
“This year’s festival isn’t over yet,” he said.
The festival continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Bechtol noted that Sunday at the festival is usually a little more relaxed and the weather is expected to be a little cooler.
“Sunday is really the best day to get here,” Bechtol said. “We have great entertainment scheduled. And it’s normally when you can get a few sales.”
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