GREENVILLE — Friday night’s streets were filled with people lining the parade route as local fire departments made their way through Greenville as part of the 49th annual Danish Festival.
The eighth annual Fireman’s Parade was another huge success as thousands flocked to the parade route to honor those who have served on the departments along with celebrating those who still serve the community.
“They are our heros,” said Greenville resident Ray Transeau. “What they do is very important.”
Many joined in a standing ovation as police cars, firetrucks, ambulances and other rescue vehicles circled the route in silence to honor those who were no longer with the departments.
The second lap was a celebration with sirens and horns blaring to show thanks for those currently serving on emergency responding departments.
“I enjoy (the parade),” Transeau said. “It’s entertaining and fun.”
During the second lap, hot air balloon crews joined the parade to showcase their baskets and burners.
Starting at 8 a.m., families started taking part in the first full day of the 49th annual Danish Festival. Events included the start of the softball tournament,
WAN (Women’s Action Network) Marketplace and food court, arts and craft vendors, Hans Christian Andersen Events, “The Storks,” hot air balloon rides and so much more.
Arron Haefner, 9, of Greenville, said his favorite part of Friday’s events was the Danish Land Midway at Hans Christian Park.
“I like the slide,” he said. “I have been down it five times”
He noted he was also looking forward to the I Scream, Ice Cream contest also taking place at the Hans Christian Andersen Park.
Also at the Danish Land Midway was arts and crafts.
Friends Kiah Burgess, 6, and Larissa Roy, 6, both of Greenville, decorated princess-related items to wear for the rest of the day.
“I am making a wand and a bracelet,” Burgess said.
Roy, who was making a crown and bracelet, said the arts and crafts area was her favorite activity.
“I’m having fun,” she said.
Later in the evening, community members joined down Cass Street to watch the “Princess and the Pea” Bed Race, which was a success on different levels.
“This year was the most teams we have had,” said race coordinator Ann Harvey, noting an increase in viewers. “It was a good crowd.”
There were five teams that participated, including the Brookside Bed Wetters (1:51), 2012 Danish Court (2:15), Mount Calvary Church (2:31) 2013 Danish Court (2:41) and Michigan One Community Credit Union (2:42).
The Brookside Bed Wetters not only came in first place for time, but was the crowd favorite, which knocked 10 seconds off their time. They won a $40 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery.
Danish Festival Executive Director Pamela Jorae said Friday’s festivities were going well Friday afternoon.
“It has been fantastic,” Jorae said. “We are expecting even larger crowds.”
Jorae noted the streets will be packed for today’s festivities throughout Greenville.
Some of the major events include Hot Air Balloon Flights, 7 a.m., at Klackle Orchards; The Grand Dansk Parade, 11 a.m.; Dirt Diggin Danes, 7 p.m. along with many other events going on through 9 p.m.