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WJBD - Local News - Little Egypt Festival Parade Cancelled For First Time In History

Wash Out. St. Theresa float travels through downtown after the parade is washed out by a heavy thunderstorm.

Little Egypt Festival Parade Cancelled For First Time In History

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

The Salem Little Egypt Festival came to an abrupt end on Saturday when heavy rain and thunder crossed over the downtown area, sending parade goers scrambling for cover and parade organizers shaking their heads.

Troy Cannon is in his first year as Little Egypt Festival Parade Chairman.  "I feel terrible.  My apologizes to the public, but ultimately at the last minute that storm brought lightening and lightning is one of the things we look for in the interest of public safety and we had no choice but to call it," said Cannon.

Organizers had said around noon, two hours before the parade was scheduled to step off from Bryan Park, that the parade would go on because there were no signs of approaching severe weather.  Weather patterns intensified over those two hours, with the first thunderclap sounding downtown about 10 minutes before the parade was scheduled.  

"We knew we were getting some rain, but at noon it didn't look that bad.  As luck would have it, from noon to two that system intensified and gained some speed and it got here a little quicker than we anticipated and it got here just in time for the parade," said Cannon.

Due to the lengthy process involved in receiving a permit to hold the parade, which requires the closure of U.S. 50 and Illinois Route 37, the parade will not be rescheduled. The parades Grand Marshalls were to be Chari Decker and Zack Hays, Salem Community High School's 2013 Prom Queen and King.  The theme was Inspirations.

But the festival wasn't all doom and gloom, festival-goers enjoyed a large flea market, arts, crafts, food, a horse show, and a car show. Children had plenty of activites to partake in including a big wheel race along with many other games.  All those activities got in before the heavy rains hit.  

Click here to see the photo gallery of the Little Egypt Festival as well as some of the entries in the Little Egypt Festival cancelled due to a heavy thunderstorm.   If you have photos of the parade entry , please send them to news@wjbdradio.com so we can add them to the gallery.

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